The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends routine dental appointments starting at around 1 year of age after baby teeth have erupted. A new poll reveals that parents who lack proper professional guidance wait until their children are much older to plan their first dental visit.

The survey of 790 parents found that one in six parents who didn’t receive advice from medical care providers assumed children need not visit a dentist until age 4 or older.

Dentist visits should start at early age

The survey showed that parents who received proper advice from their child’s doctor or dentist realized that the first dental visit should take place at an early age. On the other hand, half of the parents did not receive any advice from a healthcare provider on when to start the dental visit. Only 35% of parents who didn’t receive advice from dentist or doctor knew that dentist visits should begin when children are a year old or younger.

Early dentist visits are a vital part of children’s dental health care and are important for the identification and treatment of early childhood tooth decay and provide a chance to educate parents on key aspects of oral health.

Dentist visits should take place by 1 year or 6 months after the first tooth is visible.

Following outdated advice

The survey also found that without guidance from a health care professional, some parents asked friends or family for advice. Parents mostly rely on outdated information and not bringing their kids to the dentist early. The survey also revealed that 60% of parents said their child had seen a dentist, and 79% parents believed the dentist visit was useful.

Importance of early dentist visits

Experts recommend: -

Taking kids to the dentist early on in life helps set them up for good oral hygiene as they grow.

Provide valuable information to both parents and children about proper brushing techniques, and the need of limiting sugary drinks.

Discouraging the practice of putting the children to bed with a bottle.

Early dentist visits can help parents to identify common oral problems that toddlers and children get as they grow older, which may lead to major dental procedures later.

Dental cavities in baby teeth can be identified and attended early.

Parents may not notice decay until there’s discolouration, which may lead to a significant problem later. Speedy dental treatment at the initial sign of decay can prevent more severe dental issues down the road, which is why having regular dentist visits throughout early childhood is so pivotal.

Early dentist visits can be advantageous to children with healthy teeth and provide awareness to kids on good oral hygiene habits. The dentist can also put on fluoride varnish to help prevent forthcoming decay.