Why Early Dental Care Is Important for Children
As parents, we all want the absolute best for our children—and this includes making sure that they grow into happy, healthy adults. However, one important aspect of a child’s overall health that is often overlooked is their oral health, especially during the first few critical years of their life.
Dental professionals recommend that a child’s first visit to the dentist should be no later than their first birthday or within six months of the eruption of their first baby tooth. This rule makes complete sense when we consider the importance of early dental care for children, especially when it comes to ensuring a lifetime of good oral health.
In this article, we’ll discuss several reasons why early dental care is critical for children and the long-term health of their teeth.
Create the Foundation for Good Oral Hygiene Practices
It’s essential that parents instill proper dental habits in their children from a young age to set the stage for a lifetime of good oral health and attitude toward oral health care.
When your child has been taught the importance of prioritizing dental hygiene from their earliest years, they will be far more likely to naturally carry these good habits into adulthood.
Learn the Proper Children’s Oral Health Care at Home
A child’s first dental visits present the perfect opportunity for parents to learn how to properly care for their teeth and gums at home. This includes learning about the type of toothbrush and toothpaste they should be using, how much they should be using, how often they should be brushing, and the kind of toothbrushing technique they should apply for a gentle and effective clean.
Furthermore, parents can learn how to teach their children to correctly care for their own teeth once they are old enough to do so. As a rule of thumb, parents should ideally supervise their child’s brushing and flossing routine until they are about eight years old to ensure efficacy.
Familiarize the Children With Dental Visits
When children are introduced to the dentist at an early age, they are given the opportunity to develop a positive relationship and familiarity with the dentist. As a result, they can learn that dental visits are not something to fear.
During these early visits, children will experience and learn about the typical dental devices and equipment used during routine examinations, such as the dental mirror, scaler, and radiography (X-ray) machine. Additionally, early dental visits can help children feel more comfortable and relaxed with the dental office environment, as they’ll come to understand what to expect during their subsequent visits.
Early visits allow children to quickly become familiar with the common sights, sounds, and smells of the dental office, which can help reduce any anxiety or fear stemming from uncertainty during future visits.
By creating this positive and relaxing experience at the dentist’s office, children are more likely to perceive dental visits as a non-threatening, routine, and normal aspect of their overall healthcare, allowing them to maintain good oral hygiene habits for life.
Prevent Common Childhood Dental Issues
Tooth decay, which can occur in a child as young as one year of age, might be the most common oral health issue in children. Fortunately, it is also largely preventable. Tooth decay forms when the teeth are regularly exposed to sugars that feed on the bacteria in the mouth, creating bacterial acids that eat away at the surface enamel (a process referred to as “demineralization”).
When this occurs often enough over time, dental caries or cavities form, which then require a filling by the dentist to cease the progression of this disease and prevent further tooth damage.
The good news is early dental visits that involve oral examinations and teeth cleanings can both detect and prevent any potential dental issues before they require extensive treatment. Moreover, such visits that incorporate fluoride treatments will help to play a vital role in protecting your child’s teeth from early childhood tooth decay through safely strengthening the enamel.
Considering a sealant treatment for your child is also a good idea, especially if they have teeth with particularly deep pits and fissures that are more difficult to effectively clean with a toothbrush. Sealants are essentially thin plastic coatings applied over these susceptible chewing surfaces. They prevent bacteria from becoming trapped in the deep grooves, which can easily and quickly lead to tooth decay and cavities.
Aside from tooth decay, other dental issues that commonly affect children include gum (periodontal) disease, malocclusion (an improper bite), and unexpected trauma or accidents. Early dental care can help to prevent these dental problems, too, as long as your child does not miss their routine visits, adheres to a proper daily oral hygiene routine at home, and takes necessary steps to treat and prevent such issues as per the recommendations of their dentist.
Reach Out to Our Kids-Only Dentist Today
Are you searching for a friendly and experienced children’s dentist to help your child maintain a healthy smile early on? Luckily, our kids-only dentist in Kitchener and team are always welcoming new patients with no referral necessary.