LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Though most parents wait to take their children to the dentist until they are toddlers, a local dentist says your first trip with your kiddo should be a bit earlier.

Specifically, between the first six months to a year of life.

According to Total Health dentist Dr. Susan maples, one of the reasons to take your child to the dentist so early is because, by three years old, statistics show that a third of children are already showing signs of tooth decay.

“We need to start at the eruption of the first tooth to teach parents about how to prevent the most prevalent diseases on the planet,” said Dr. Maples.

While baby teeth are covered in a thin layer of enamel, once decay burns through that layer, it spreads “like wildfire” in the tooth.

For some little ones, that can lead to bad dental infections and lots of pain.

So even if your child has only one or two teeth by six months old, Dr. Maples still encourages you to go ahead and start brushing.

Dr. Maples says should treat baby teeth like they’re supposed to last six or seven years because they are.

It’s good to get children familiar with the idea of brushing and taking care of their mouths.

When it comes to flossing your child’s teeth, Dr. Maples says that it’s an excellent habit to get into and really does help clean teeth.

“We love to have kids learn. Even though it is most important that they master that of course, by their teen years, our goal is to help kids develop beliefs, skills, and behaviors, for a lifetime of health,” said Dr. Maples.