Starting Off Strong: When to Take Your Child to the Dentist and What to Expect


As moms, we’re asked to assume a lot of different jobs to care for our kids. We’re expected to be expert nurses, chauffeurs, cooks, and cleaners. One job that most of us cannot do on our own is dentistry. We all want the best for our kids but sometimes it’s necessary to leave it to the professionals. That’s why Dr. Mauro from North Hills Family Dental is here to break down how to care for your child’s teeth and what to expect when you go in for their first dental visit.

When Should My Child First See a Dentist?

There’s a lot of information out there about the right age to take your child to visit a dentist but Dr. Mauro suggests following the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) guidelines. The AAPD advises that you bring your infant to a dentist as soon as their first baby tooth erupts or around their first birthday.

Your child’s oral health starts with their baby teeth, and it’s vital that they grow in properly. Not only will this help them chew and speak normally, it will also aid the later development of adult teeth, which follow the path of the baby teeth that came before them. If those baby teeth are not carefully preserved, it could have important consequences as your child grows older.

To maintain healthy baby teeth, it’s essential to visit a dentist like Dr. Mauro every six months once the first tooth appears. That will give your child’s dentist time to watch the growth of teeth and to monitor oral health.

What Should I Expect At Their First Dental Visit?

Before the visit, be sure that you’re going to a family or pediatric dentist who you can trust. Your child’s first few visits to a dental practice will affect how they respond to dentists throughout their childhood, and it’s important that they see a dentist’s office as a safe space. Dr. Mauro is a father himself and knows the importance of treating children tenderly and patiently.

During the first appointment, Dr. Mauro will examine the health of the erupting teeth and check for any abnormalities. He’ll take time to explain the best care practices for the next few months, including proper oral hygiene techniques, smart nutrition diets, and how to avoid bad habits like nail-biting. You’re free to ask any questions, and Dr. Mauro will answer them to the best of his ability.

If you want any follow-up or have further questions after your appointment, Dr. Mauro and his staff are always available during regular business hours and would be happy to hear from you.

How Should I Clean My Baby’s Teeth After the Visit?

Cleaning their teeth after the first visit will be fairly simple, but will change over time. To help you understand the needs of baby teeth at any stage, Dr. Mauro recommends the following cleaning schedule for your child’s next few years:

  • 6 months to 3 years – The moment your child’s first tooth has erupted, you can begin cleaning their teeth with a baby toothbrush. This early on, fluoride toothpaste isn’t necessary but you can use a grain-sized slip of toothpaste if you’d like. Gently brush the erupted teeth twice a day. As teeth continue to grow in, you can brush them more firmly, but never with the same vigor as you would brush your own adult teeth.
  • 3 to 6 years – By their 3rd birthday, most children can handle more toothpaste and more active cleaning. Use enough fluoride toothpaste to cover the brush but make sure that they spit out the toothpaste and rinse their mouth afterward.
  • 6+ years – At the age of 6, your child should be brushing their own teeth. They should also be encouraged to floss and build safe habits going forward. Dr. Mauro suggests that you still supervise their cleaning habits, ensuring that they follow your instructions and are spending enough time brushing each day.

Looking For a Family Dentist You Can Trust?

At North Hills Family Dental, our top priority is the health of your children and family. Dr. Mauro and the rest of our team have been working with children for years, and we love having new families visit our practice. We know that caring for your family’s health is a 24/7 job for you, which is why we are always willing to offer support in any way we can. If you’re in need of a family dentist or an experienced pediatric dentistry team, you can contact us online, call us at (412) 364-1477, or make an appointment in person. Our office is located at 9401 McKnight Rd #307, Pittsburgh, PA 15237. We look forward to meeting you!


Pittsburgh Moms Blog is excited to have partnered with North Hills Family Dental to share information with Pittsburgh families about dental health.