The First Dental Visit is a big occasion at Dentistry for Children. And we take the timing of that visit very seriously. It might surprise you to know we hope you bring your child to meet Dr. Troy King and his staff no later than his or her first Birthday, or at least by his or her first tooth. In 2020, we are recruiting all our young patient’s parents and caregivers to help us spread the news. Visiting the dentist early has many advantages for your child’s health. We see it as an opportunity to improve the oral health of your child.
- Early assessment reduces your child’s risk of early dental disease.
- Treatment of caries is essential.
- Awareness of oral hygiene education can build good health habits into your child’s concept of a good, healthy life.
- Also, first in our hearts is that your child regards the dentist’s office as a safe and secure place. (Sometimes we even have to teach this lesson to parents and grandparents.)
- Believe it or not, early and regular dental appointments can actually help your budget.
Arthur J. Nowak, D.M.D., M.A., is professor emeritus of pediatric dentistry and pediatrics, University of Iowa Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry. She stated, “For parents who think postponing the first dental visit will help their budget, the opposite is more likely. Children who had their first appointment after age four had $1,054 of dental treatments, while children who had their first appointment before age four had $694 of dental treatments during eight years of follow-up.”
The First Dental Visit: Preemptive Strike against Caries
Basic to understanding the value of the first dental visit is the fact that caries can restrict your child’s quality of life. That first dental visit at age 1 can lead to health, social and economic benefits as listed above. Contrary to old-school thinking, cavities do not absolutely have to be a necessary part of childhood.
At your child’s first visit, not only will Dr. King and our staff assess your child’s risk of tooth decay (caries,) but note any growth issues. At this time we can check on:
- delayed eruption of teeth,
- rare abnormalities of the mouth,
- growth and development issues,
- education about oral hygiene.
You see that first visit with Dr. King lays the groundwork for preventing caries. Once again we remind you that your baby does not have to deal with a childhood full of cavities. Caries is a preventable disease. And yet, delays in making that first dental visit have added up to a significant threat to health, as well as “welfare and future of the youngest members of our society.”
Tooth Truth: Confessions of Parents
Many parents say they know the importance of oral health. However, we are surprised to see these research results. You see, 8 of 10 parents report they know better. But they still engage in behavior they know to be bad for their children’s teeth.
Parents’ Dental Report Card
A few simple questions can define you as a dentally aware parent. How would you answer these questions at your child’s first dental visit with Dr. King?
- How do you feel about fruit juice and sugary drinks? Would you believe that “Seventy-eight percent agree that juice is not a healthy drink for their kids’ teeth?” However, 34 percent of survey respondents frequently serve juice to their children.
- Do you find yourself putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice? Eighty-five percent of parents know this is not a good thing. But 20 percent do it anyway, usually for their own convenience.
- Poor diets matter to teeth, especially in the early years of life. 91% of parents say, “sure, they know this.”
They know what poor nutrition can do to tooth development. However, 57 percent of parents surveyed gave multiple snacks to their toddlers and children—several times per day!
- Doctors and Nurses Alert: “The lack of understanding of the importance of caring for teeth at an early age and establishing a Dental Home is not restricted to parents—it is still too common among providers in the health care community.”
No Tests or Judgement, We Promise!
Don’t worry, we won’t give you this little test, we promise. After all, we know you know the answers. However, you might be totally innocent about the importance of visiting the dentist in the first year. We are celebrating 2020 by crusading to let people know how important that first dental visit, the first year, can be. We can show you and your baby how to build a lifetime of good habits for strong teeth, healthy gums, and bright smiles through proper oral hygiene.
Happy First Birthday: Let’s Meet Your Dentist!
We join The AAPD, American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry in recommending a first dental visit by the first birthday. “If established this early in the child’s life, these practices can have a significant impact on the child’s future oral health. Waiting until the child is older—even if only to the age of two or three— can have an adverse impact on oral health as well as family finances.
The First Dental Visit
We know 8 out of 10 parents and caregivers surveyed know their child’s oral health is important before the permanent teeth come in. “This awareness is partly reflected in the rising rate that children are seeing the dentist.”
A Few Points for Parents to Ponder
Let’s look at some dental visit data:
- Between 1997 and 2013, children with a dental visit in the past year increased by Seventeen percent among children ages 2–4.
- That number increased by Eight percent among children ages 5–11.
- Then, it rose by Ten percent among adolescents ages 12–17.
In spite of all the above information, 31 percent of parents and caregivers continue to rank toothaches as the least serious ailment compared to tummy aches, earaches, headaches, and sore throats. And yet caries is at epidemic proportions, and it can lead to serious health issues that stay with an individual for a lifetime?
Did you know that all ages have had to increase their dental visits since 1997? We at Dentistry for Children could defeat this statistic if we could better establish the custom of taking that first, preventative dental visit in the first year of life. We appeal to you to celebrate your child’s first birthday with that first dental visit with us. You will be so glad you did. And so will your child. Give your child a golden key to his or her future through good oral health.