The Importance of Pediatric Dentistry

As adults, we know that we're supposed to see a dentist every six months for a routine checkup and teeth cleaning, and even then, many of us don't quite meet that mark. The hustle and bustle of life often gets in the way, and many individuals go a year or longer in between dentist appointments. Considering the fact that adults are often a bit lax with their dental health, it's no surprise that many parents don't realize the importance of pediatric dentistry or know when or how often to take their little ones to the dentist.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children should visit a pediatric dentist when their first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday. As kids get older, dentist appointments should be made every six months, just as they are for adults. Even if your children aren't visiting the dentist regularly, it's never too late to start a healthy pediatric dental routine.

Putting Children at Ease

Even though there's nothing to be afraid of, it's estimated that up to 15 percent of Americans – roughly 40 million people – experience some sort of anxiety or fear surrounding a trip to the dentist, with some individuals suffering from a full-blown phobia of the dentist. This fear can stop people from making or attending dental appointments, leading to poor oral health. One of the most important aspects of pediatric dentistry is the purpose it serves in familiarizing children with the dentist. Children who visit the dentist regularly from a young age will see that there's nothing to fear at their appointments. The more positive exposure kids have at a young age to dental appointments, the less nervous or anxious they'll feel about them as they get older and the more likely they will be to go to the dentist throughout their life.

Establishing a Routine

Children should see a dentist every six months, just like adults, but a surprising number of adults don't stick to that recommendation. In fact, one-in-three American adults don't visit the dentist as often as they should. By establishing a routine of dental checkups every six months from a young age, we can ingrain that positive habit into children in hopes that they continue to follow the appropriate recommendations for dental visits as adults. If kids get used to the idea of going to the dentist on a set bi-annual schedule, it should be easier for them to continue that habit into their teenage and adult years.

Keeping Baby Teeth Clean and Healthy

Children only have their baby teeth for a few years (baby teeth begin to loosen and fall out at around age 6), but it's extremely important to care for those teeth while they're around. Many kids still have baby teeth into their early teenage years, so parents need to teach their children to take good care of them, because some of them are going to be there for quite a while. The types of foods and snacks that kids typically enjoy are often loaded with sugar, which can wreak havoc on teeth. Drinks in particular are a big culprit; the amount of sugar in things like juice and soda can cause a lot of dental issues in kids. Establishing a twice-daily brushing routine at home and a twice-yearly trip to the dentist will help fight plaque and decay, which are two of the primary negative effects of sugar on teeth.  Around 42 percent of kids ages 2 to 11 have tooth decay, and 23 percent of those children have not been treated for it. Decay is a serious issue and regular visits to the dentist can help keep it in check.

Preventing Future Problems

Not only can the staff at a reliable pediatric dentist office like ours keep teeth clean and healthy, but we can also monitor the progress and development of your child's teeth as they age, keeping tabs on things to ensure everything is developing properly. In addition to checking for (and filling) cavities as necessary, we keep an eye on tooth alignment and spacing and monitor for problems like gum disease and impactions. These are things that are better addressed early, before they become bigger problems, so having a pediatric dentist to monitor and watch out for potential issues is a good idea.

Additional Benefits of Pediatric Dentistry

Conclusion

Whether your child has never been to the dentist before, has gone regularly, or has visited infrequently, we can help make them feel comfortable and at home while keeping their teeth clean and healthy in our family-friendly office. Children's teeth undergo many changes as they grow, and it's important to have a reliable and experienced pediatric dentist along the way.  Oral health is extremely important for children of all ages, from infancy through childhood, so regardless of how old your child may be, don't hesitate to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Author
Dr. Owyoung Andrew Owyoung, DDS, has been providing comprehensive family dental care for 29 years to the Sacramento area. Widely considered a top dentist in Sacramento, the staff at Soft Touch Dentistry are equipped with the knowledge, experience, and equipment to deliver an unparalleled dental experience.

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