Why Your Child Should See the Dentist by Age 1

Jen Wennerberg |

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly encourage that children have their first dental visit by one year of age. Early prevention of cavities is the goal. To accomplish this, parents need to understand their child’s risk of developing cavities. They can learn how to manage their child’s diet, provide proper use of fluoride, and help perform adequate oral hygiene. Cavities aren’t the only thing parents should learn about their child’s dental health. The age one dental visit also allows parents the chance to discuss:

  • How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth.
  • Proper use of fluoride and toothpaste.
  • Oral habits, including finger, thumb, and pacifier sucking.
  • Ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth.
  • Teething and developmental milestones.
  • The impact of diet choices on oral health.

According to a recently released report by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood and remains an epidemic among our nation’s children. There are many critical reasons why we should preserve dental health and teeth in both children and adults. Of primary importance is the fact that dental decay and other dental problems are caused by bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria can spread from the tooth into the nerve of the tooth and sometimes into bone. Not only is this painful, but an abscess can form, which can spread into the bloodstream and be detrimental to overall health. 

Many parents and guardians choose to have their child see a pediatric dentist rather than a general dentist. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry: They have two to three additional years of specialized training beyond their four years of dental school and four years of undergraduate studies. Pediatric dentists use appropriate communication styles to examine and care for the oral health needs of infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health care needs.  

Here in the Chippewa Valley, Smiles in Motion Pediatric Dentistry, founded by Dr. Amanda Spitz, is focused on making proper oral care an integral part of a child’s total health and well-being. Treatment modalities and recommendations for the growing child and baby teeth are not the same as for adults and adult teeth. Improper or inadequate pediatric dental care can have long-term negative impacts on a child’s overall health. It is not necessary to have a referral to become a patient at most specialty practices, including Smiles in Motion. 

Jen Wennerberg is the marketing manager for Kristo Orthodontics and Smiles in Motion Pediatric Dentistry, which are community partners of Chippewa Valley Family magazine. She holds a master’s degree in communication from Northeastern University and has more than 10 years of marketing experience. Jen currently resides on a hobby farm in Bloomer with her husband, Adam.