When Do Kids Need To Go To a Dentist?
For a child (anyone, actually) compared to riding roller coasters or playing in a park, going to the dentist doesn’t rank as one of the most fun things to do. Heck, it doesn’t even compare with watching good television. Sadly, for most kids, it’s likely worse than an early bedtime. That said, it’s one of the most important habits to form. As researchers have discovered, dental problems and poor oral health is an indicator of poor overall health and has been linked to such problems as heart disease. As unpleasant as going to the dentist might seem, parents looking for children’s dentists in San Antonio are well advised to make that first dentist appointment and continue with regular visits.
When to Schedule A Child’s First Dentist Visit
Current American Dental Association (ADA) advice is to schedule that first visit at around 12 months of age. We believe in starting dental visits early and schedule what we refer to as “Happy Visits”. A happy visit is basically getting the young patient to sit in the chair, we introduce them to the mouth mirror, and the dental environment. It allows for a healthy habit of coming in every 6 months to avoid larger problems such as decay and other tooth issues.
Additionally, some people argue that baby teeth are not important. Research has shown that baby teeth —primary teeth — are integral to an infant’s oral health.
Early loss of baby teeth creates several problems:
– Contributes to speech problems
– Negatively impacts a child’s self confidence due to an unhealthy smile
– Prohibits the proper chewing of food
Finally, waiting to schedule that first visit until a child reaches two or three years of age can increase the anxiety associated with dental visits. Such anxiety can create lifelong procrastination, which, in turn, leads to poor lifelong oral health. When it comes to the question of “when do kids need to go to the dentist,” scheduling dental visits as early as 12 months can have lasting health benefits.
When to Begin Brushing Teeth at Home
At 12 months of age, a child can’t brush his or her teeth, but that first dental visit helps dentists advise parents on how they can brush their child’s teeth. Brushing then can create positive associations and even become a bonding experience.
The time to start brushing at home is easy: at around 12 months after that first dental visit and a consultation with the dentist.
Don’t forget — flossing
At around two years of age, a child’s teeth fit more or less tightly together. It’s at this time flossing becomes important. Flossing removes food debris between the gum line and the tooth, but a less well known benefit is that flossing, done correctly, stimulates the gums and keeps them healthy. Not flossing leaves food particles to decay and induce cavities and gum disease. Too hard or vigorous flossing can damage the gums.
Because gentle pressure of the floss between the gum and tooth is actually a little more difficult than one might think, regular childhood dental visits allows the dentist to gauge gum health and offer ongoing advice on the child’s flossing.
Healthy Dental Habits Persist Long into Adulthood
For parents seeking childrens dentists in San Antonio, a trusted, competent dentist can help parents and their children view a dental visit as an important task successfully accomplished. Our San Antonio dentists take pride in offering general dentistry services to patients of all ages. Our dentists are compassionate and passionate about creating healthy, beautiful smiles. Start your child on the right path of dental health by scheduling an appointment today.