Kindergarten registration requires that your children have a recent dental checkup, and for many children this is their first dental visit. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both agree that children should visit the dentist well before this age. In fact, both the ADA and the AAP recommend that all children visit the dentist by the time children reach their first birthday. This is typically five years before they will even start school, so why such an early recommendation?
The benefits of an early introduction to the dentist are incredibly important:
Allow children to become comfortable at the dentist. Millions of Americans keep from getting necessary dental care and treatment each year due to the anxiety that they have about the dentist. The ADA and the AAP agree that children who are brought into the dentist from a very young are much more likely to feel comfortable with their experiences. Making dental visits a normal part of a young child’s life helps them to become familiar with the routines of their dental visits.
Educate parents about proper oral health care for young children. As soon as baby teeth begin to emerge into the mouth, they need just as much care as adult teeth. It is important that once children develop their very first teeth that parents begin brushing them daily. It is important for parents to understand that early prevention in dental care is the best choice that they can make to set up a successful future for their children’s teeth.
Discuss and break bad oral habits. Many parents are happy to give their young children pacifiers, bottles, or allow them to suck on their thumbs or fingers for comfort. However, these habits need to be broken as quickly as possible. While it is difficult to take away things that bring comfort to our children, these same things can begin to damage the teeth as they start coming in. It is also important that children are not allowed to fall asleep at the breast or with a bottle of milk/formula. Milk that remains in the mouth coats the teeth in sugars, making them incredibly vulnerable to cavities.
Identify the link between diet and oral health.Just as in adults, healthy food and drink choices benefit children. Juice, soda, sweet tea, and candy should not be given to children on a regular basis. All of these put the developing teeth at risk for cavities and early decay. Parents need to understand that there is a direct link between their children’s diets and their oral health.
At Pristine Dental, we are proud to offer family dental services to patients of all ages. Bringing children in to our practice from the very start allows us to partner with parents to set them up for a successful dental future. Contact us today to schedule your child’s first dental visit.