Hopefully, at lease one parent is going to the dentist already. Cavity bacteria spreads from a parent to a child through saliva. Babies are not born with these bacteria- we give it to the through sharing of spoons, straws, drinks, pacifiers. Parents ought to be checked for the amount of cavities being active before the child is born. This way the parent can be educated about the amount and frequency you should be cleaning your child’s teeth and things that are not proper for a child to place in their mouth.
These things I refer to are prolonged acid exposure such as lemons, sweet tea, gatorade, varieties of soda. Children cannot adequately spit out the sugars or acids
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child should be seen at 18 months of age for an oral exam. The child will have a mostly complete set of teeth by then.
I believe that 95% of dental disease is preventable. The other percentages have to do with how the teeth erupt and accidents.
If you control what you buy and what your child puts in his mouth between meals, you should have less decay than when your grandparents grew up. Most water is fluoridated which make the teeth really hard. Most of the training toothpastes do not have fluoride in them. This is OK. Most are glycerine gels with a little flavoring added in order to make it more palatable for your child. This is often a safety concern as well. Children who like the taste of toothpaste will generall want to eat and swallow it so for now, no fluoride is OK.
Why so young to take the child to the dentist? Conditioning of the child to get them used to and comfortable with the dentist, the dental chair and that other people will need to look in their mouth is the secondary reason. The primary reason is to educate the adults who take care of them. How to take care of their teeth, supervise and generally avoid the snacking and drinking all day in order to avoid dental decay. Sometimes a cleaning will be performed, sometimes not. The idea is to get the children excited about going to the dentist and not be afraid of the wonderful people you have hired to help your child with their oral health.
X-rays are generally not taken until the child is 4-5 years old. This is to check on the development of the permanent teeth as well as to see if the child has cavities in between the teeth.
Whatever you do, do not scare your child by making the dentist the enemy. It is hard enough to work on a moving target without the child being fearful of a needle or drill. It is totally avoidable if you take enough precautions on the front end.