Even though the answer to this question may seem simple enough, did you know that most American children don’t have their first dental appointment until they’re more than 2 years old? Whether we’re talking about a baby whose first teeth are just starting to cut through, or a 6 year old that’s finally losing their primary teeth, the need for consistent dental checkups doesn’t change.
So, to help answer the many questions that parents have regarding their children’s oral health, we’ve decided to take an in-depth look at why pediatric dentistry is so important. In this article, we’ll be covering all of the most common concerns, as well as some questions you may not have even considered.
1. Baby Teeth Are More Important Than You Think
Because your child’s first set of teeth eventually fall out anyway, it’s easy to think they’re not all that important. However, most parents are surprised to learn just how integral baby teeth are to the future development of their child’s oral health.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), keeping your child’s baby teeth in place until they fall out naturally is important for the following reasons:
– Normal speech development
– Sufficient spacing for permanent teeth
– Proper chewing helps maintain good nutrition
– A healthy smile helps your child feel good about themselves
That’s right, those cute little pearly whites that make each and every smile a picture worthy moment do a lot more than simply fall out. Because of this we recommend that you take your child to the dentist early in life to help get them comfortable with the dentist and to make sure their teeth are healthy.
Doing so will help parents build a regular checkup schedule that can keep your child’s oral health on track year after year.
2. Tooth Decay Affects 40% of Kindergarteners
Just because your child’s first set of teeth are only temporary doesn’t mean they can’t suffer from the same tooth decay that permanent teeth are susceptible to. The main reason this statistic is so high ultimately comes down to the quality of oral care performed at home.
Taking your child in for regular dental checkups (recommended at least 2 per year) will not only help ensure their teeth are growing properly, but it can also help keep you up to date with the best dental hygiene practices.
Even though the purpose of pediatric dental checkups is to make sure the patient’s teeth are healthy, here at Inland Family Dentistry, we spend a lot of time making sure both parents and children are fully educated on what they can be doing to prevent common oral problems such as tooth decay and gingivitis.
3. Baby Teeth Need Professional Cleaning Too
Your child’s teeth are no different than your own, and the recommendation is to get a dental cleaning every 6 months; the true is same for your children and their baby teeth. Taking your child in for regular dental checkups can also help give you peace of mind.
Similar to permanent teeth, primary teeth (baby teeth) are littered with tough to reach places and susceptible to plaque that can build up along the gumline. Visiting your local dentist on a regular basis will take care of the stubborn plaque and tartar that even the best of home routines can’t get rid of.
Additionally, having a consistent dental provider and office makes it easier for both you and the dentist to stay on top of the various changes that are constantly taking place in your child’s mouth. Between X-rays, detailed records, and the invaluable bond your dentist will form with you and your child, it only makes sense to schedule regular checkups!
Is Your Child Ready For Their Dental Checkup?
At Inland Family Dentistry, we often start a child’s dental experience by exposing them to mom or dad’s dental appointment. Often one family member will bring in the child while a parent has his or her teeth cleaned. They can also observe a sibling as well. This experience makes sitting in the dental chair fun. It also means the kiddo has plenty of time to play in the kids’ room and visit the treasure chest.
Over time and by creating a trusted environment for the child, dental cleanings become a welcome experience. Where else can you get orange flavored toothpaste and leave with a new trendy-themed toothbrush? Not to mention, one of our assistants takes great pride in making sure our toy selection is on point. Building the foundation for a long and healthy relationship for kids to take pride in their oral health is the goal. The saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure couldn’t apply better to dentistry. Teaching children to take care of their teeth is obviously the priority, but we think we can have loads of fun along the way.