As soon as a child's first tooth makes its appearance, the little one's first dental appointment should be scheduled. Since many babies start the teething process around six months of age, some parents may feel that their little one is too young for a dental visit. However, that is not the case. 

Pediatric dentists are trained to work with young children and play an important role in the maintenance of a child's oral health. Here are a few reasons to allow your child to receive professional dental care once their first primary teeth erupt.

Even a Baby's Teeth Can Decay

Like adult teeth, primary teeth are prone to dental decay, which is the demineralization of the tooth enamel. Dental decay is caused by oral acids that dissolve the minerals that make up the enamel. The acids are produced by bacteria that live in the mouth, such as Streptococcus mutans. The bacteria feed on the sugars that are left in the mouth from the foods and drinks that are consumed and release the acids as waste.

Although your little one may not be eating a wide variety of foods when they start to teethe, the simple sugars in formula or juice are enough to incite decay. In fact, a relatively common condition called "baby bottle decay" can occur among babies who feed from a bottle regularly as they rest or fall asleep.

When a baby starts to fall asleep, their sucking reflex dissipates. As a result, any liquid that they are consuming starts to pool in their mouth. This pooling effect bathes the child's teeth in the ingested liquid and facilitates decay. When a baby suffers from baby bottle decay, the child's teeth may become so decayed that they actually turn black. Proper dental care can help prevent or treat the decay.

The Child Becomes Accustomed to Dental Care

Dental fears and anxiety can begin at an early age. By taking your child to the dentist while the little one is still a baby, the youngster can become accustomed to dental care and forgo the anxiety that many older children and adults experience when they receive dental care. 

Pediatric dentists create a trusting, fun dental environment in which a young child can relax and learn about proper dental care. Additionally, they can apply preventive dental treatments, such as fluoride applications and dental sealants, to help keep your little one's teeth healthy, lessening the need for restorative care. If your child has not been scheduled for their first dental appointment, contact your local pediatric dentistry office.