GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) — Most parents wait too long to take their children to their first dental appointment, a second-year dental student from East Carolina University tells WNCT.

“We talked a lot about how a lot of parents don’t realize that they need to get their children into dental care,” said Hannah Moore. “The recommended time that you should take your child to see the dentist for the first time is by either the eruption of their very first tooth or their very first birthday.”

The foods and drinks that children consume could also be a cause for concern.

“The diet is very important. A lot of parents don’t realize the amount of juice that they’re giving their children can really impact their oral health and cause their kids to be more susceptible to getting cavities,” Moore said.

She said that a combination of brushing and limiting how much juice they drink is important.

“Kids, they don’t have the best dexterity, so it’s really good for you to go behind them and get those spots that they can’t quite get to,” said Moore. “Flossing is also very important, but at a younger age you have more space in between your teeth so it’s less likely for you to get bacteria stuck in there.”

Moore said that once the teeth do start to come in, there will be less space in-between teeth. So exercising more diligence when flossing becomes more important.

“Everybody says, you only get one set of teeth, and I know that you get baby teeth as well, but people don’t realize how important your baby teeth are in guiding those permanent teeth into your mouth, into the correct position,” Moore said. “I know they’re going to fall out eventually but you’ve got to make sure that you’re taking care of those as well.”

She also said that a good way for parents to get children acclimated to visiting the dentist is by taking them along for their own appointments.

“A lot of kids are obviously scared of dentists because there’s loud noises, we’re always in masks, we’ve got funny glasses on,” said Moore. “Show your kid what you’re going to do … give them a booklet, have some education about what it’s going to look like when you get there.”