Most parents know that their children need to start brushing their teeth as soon as possible. But when should you begin taking your children to the dentist? How can you tell if your child is having a dental issue? How do you know if you are doing all you can to ensure your child’s oral health?
Since 1947 the non-profit American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, has been a leading advocate of children’s dental health. AAPD is a leading authority in areas of both primary and specialty care. Their site offers many helpful videos about children’s dentistry and oral hygiene. It is recommended that a child’s first visit takes place before his or her first birthday. However, surveys have shown the average first visit in the U.S. takes place at between two and three years of age.
Why do pediatric dentists recommend that you bring your child in for their first dental visit so young? Dental decay is currently the most prevalent disease in the United States. It occurs five times more often than asthma, seven times more often than common hay fever allergies. The earlier a child is evaluated, the earlier any concerns can be addressed, and major issues prevented. Your pediatric dentist has received special training in helping children feel comfortable and communicating what they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy. They are there to answer parents’ questions and guide you regarding teething, diet, oral habits like thumb sucking, and to assist with any dental injuries that may occur such as broken or displaced teeth.
The earlier your child is introduced to the caregivers and atmosphere of their personal dental health team, the easier it will be for them to feel secure while receiving needed dental care or treatment. Finding a pediatric dentist is not difficult in this electronic age. The AAPD can help, or you can simply go to the internet and type, for example, ‘pediatric dentist Missouri City TX’ and many choices will appear for that particular area. Most sites will list their certifications and experience and answer most basic questions about the care you can expect to receive.
Pediatric dentists will generally treat your child from infancy through his or her teen years. They can explain the various types of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss and how to use them. They can evaluate for future needs such as orthodontics and provide protection against future decay and tooth loss. Healthcare providers are now beginning to incorporate dental providers into their general health care plans, recommending dental visits along with other regular infant doctor visits. These initiatives help will promote earlier and more consistent oral hygiene habits.
Establishing a rapport between your child and their dental caregivers will make visits more pleasant experiences for them and build confidence in their understanding of caring for their own teeth and gums. It is best not to put off that all-important first visit. Start now for a lifetime of excellent oral health and beautiful smiles.