“Experts” recommend that babies see a dentist as soon as their first tooth comes out, or by their first birthday — whichever one comes first. Kaia had a number of teeth come in during November and December, and we had her first dentist appointment today. Chris and our nanny took her, and… as predicted, she cried. While she is happy to watch me brush my teeth and tries to eat my toothbrush, she refuses to have her own teeth brushed. She needs to have her arms and legs restrained and a finger stuck in her mouth in order to have any teeth brushed at all.
The dentist sent Kaia home with a goody bag filled with a little baby toothbrush, baby toothpaste, and a few toys. And Chris said they showed a video at the office showing the best way to “restrain” baby in order to brush the teeth. It still looks like absolute torture to me, but anything to keep Kaia’s dental health on track will be good for her, even if she hates it in the short term. The dentist also suggested using a very thin layer of toothpaste, contrary to what I thought before. A little swallowing at this stage is not supposed to be too much of a worry.
Most kids probably never see a dentist before the age of 4 or 5. I think the first time I ever went was at age 5, and I had three cavities (since I refused toothpaste for that long… very, very bad). We’re sending our kid at age 1. We hope we’re getting our dental insurance premium’s worth out of these visits.