As a kids’ dentist in SW Portland, our staff at Burlingame Dental Arts strives to provide our youngest patients with a solid foundation for their oral health. As they grow older and begin to develop their baby and primary teeth, parents need to ensure their kids enjoy quality oral health now so they can continue to enjoy healthy teeth and gums in the future.
Protecting your child’s oral health means scheduling regular dental visits with our staff of kids’ dentists starting at a young age. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child first visits the dentist by the age of 1. Despite the need for early dental care, the average age for a child’s first dental appointment in the U.S. is roughly 2.5 years old, according to the results of a new survey.
Researchers involved in the study from Western University College of Dental Medicine cited a concern over the lack of urgency and parental knowledge regarding the need for kids to visit the dentist by the age of 1. Failure for a child to receive adequate dental care at a young age could increase his or her risk of dental decay, cavities, and premature tooth loss.
Kids Not Visiting the Dentist Early Enough
Conducted online, the survey was completed by parents of children under the age of 18 living in the U.S. The survey involved over 300 parents between the ages of 18 to 65 and focused on their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding kids’ dental care and preventative oral hygiene for themselves and their children. The topics covered in the survey included the age a child should first visit the dentist, the use of disposable supplies in the dental office, and the use of dental sealants. A second telephone interview was conducted among 75 study participants who at the time of the survey lived below the poverty line.
In the second survey conducted with low-income households, the average age for a child’s first dental appointment was 3.4 years of age, which is roughly a year older than the general population. When asked during the follow up why they didn’t seek dental care for their kids at a younger age, over 60 percent of parents stated they didn’t think dental care was necessary. Surprisingly, 15 percent of study participants reported having their pediatrician reinforce the belief that a child doesn’t need to receive dental care until later in life.
Also recorded in the study, 9 percent of parents reported being unable to afford dental care for their children, and 13 percent reported being unaware whether pediatric dental care was covered by their insurance.
Based on the existing recommendations issued by the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should receive an initial visit to a pediatric dentist by 12 months. The AAP also recommends a child’s primary care provider perform an oral health screening by 6 months of age.
The Role of Your Kids’ Dentist In SW Portland
Pediatric and general dentists play an important role in protecting a child’s long-term health. Dental caries and tooth decay can negatively impact a child’s teeth as they develop. If left untreated, early childhood decay can cause premature tooth loss in kids. While it’s easy to think of baby teeth as disposable since they will eventually fall out on their own, they actually play a vital role in the development of primary, or adult, teeth.
Baby teeth act as space holders until adult teeth are ready to arrive. If a baby tooth falls out before its permanent replacement is ready to develop, neighboring teeth can begin to slowly drift into the space vacated by the missing tooth. This can cause crowding, crooked, or misaligned primary teeth to develop, which increases the risk of speaking and eating disorders, and the need for braces.
Parents can avoid these troublesome issues by scheduling regular dental appointments with their kids’ dentist in SW Portland at a young age while these types of issues are easy to treat.
A great looking and healthy smile is what every parent wants for their child. Don’t inadvertently neglect your child’s smile by maintaining a regular dental exam schedule for your baby, toddler, and adolescent.