End Tooth Decay Through Early Dental Visits
Tooth decay is common among children, but the good news is, it can be avoided especially if parents introduce good dental care and healthy eating habits to their little ones at an early age. Dental visits around age one when baby teeth emerge is another good thing to do to finally say bye bye to tooth decay.
Early visits to a dentist around age one is highly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association. The doctor or dentist can guide parents to follow national recommendations for early dental care for their children.
This practice is highly recommended by Sarah Clark, co-director of Mott poll that was conducted recently.
Clark said, “Visiting the dentist at an early age is an essential part of children’s health care. These visits are important for the detection and treatment of early childhood tooth decay and also a valuable opportunity to educate parents on key aspects of oral health.”
Tooth decay is caused by plaque collecting around the gum line, the edges of fillings and grooved surfaces of the teeth.
Benefits of Early Dental Visits
Early dental visits before age one can give parents guidance and learn the new national recommendation for early dental care for their children.
Clark said, “Our poll finds that when parents get clear guidance from their child’s doctor or dentist, they understand the first dental visit should take place at an early age. Without such guidance, some parents turn to family or friends for advice. As recommendations change, they may be hearing outdated information and not getting their kids to the dentist early enough.”
Experts say starting dental visits early helps set children up for healthy oral hygiene, with parents learning about correct brushing techniques, the importance of limiting sugary drinks, and the need to avoid putting children to bed with a bottle.
Aside from that, early childhood caries (dental decay in baby teeth) may also be detected at young ages, allowing for treatment of decay to avoid more serious problems. In young children with healthy teeth, dentists may apply fluoride varnish to prevent future decay.
The Recent Poll
The nationally representative poll is based on responses from 790 parents with at least one child aged 0-5.
The results showed that one in 6 parents who did not receive advice from a health care provider believed children should delay dentist visits until age 4 or older – years later than what experts recommend.
More than half of parents did not receive guidance from their child’s doctor or a dentist about when to start dentist visits.
Over half of parents (60 percent) reported their child has had a dental visit with most parents (79 percent) believing the dentist visit was worthwhile.
Among the 40 percent of parents whose child has not had a dental visit, common reasons for not going were that the child is not old enough (42 percent), the child’s teeth are healthy (25 percent), and the child would be scared of the dentist (15 percent).
In addition, parents with higher income and education, and those with private dental insurance, were more likely to report that a doctor or dentist provided guidance on when to start dental visits.