With studies suggesting that around one in four Australian children have untreated tooth decay and with about half of all six-year-olds experiencing some form of tooth decay, it’s clear that many children just aren’t receiving the oral hygiene advice and preventative dental treatment they need to form the basis for a lifetime of good dental health. There is a false belief that the dental care of baby teeth is a low priority, as they fall out anyway as the child grows.
The reality is that the right dental care, from an early age, doesn’t just impact on tooth health, it also has knock-on implications for growth, development, whole body health and mental well-being. Take a look below at four reasons why dental checks for kids should be an essential part of their health regime from a very early age.
Your Pediatric Dentist can Check for Healthy Growth and Development
Although most children develop normally when it comes to their teeth, jaw, gums, head and neck, there are a significant minority who are either born with birth defects, or who fail to develop within normal parameters. Frequently, problems such as tongue tie, jawbone abnormalities, ear asymmetry or poor posture aren’t picked up as part of the checks a pediatrician completes.
What this means is that many children are left struggling with problems which need correction, simply because they’re not diagnosed. Like many other conditions, catching a developmental problem early usually makes it much easier to treat. A dental professional has an enormous amount of specialist knowledge when it comes to spotting that something isn’t quite as it should be.
This is the case even when a child is very young and the first teeth haven’t erupted. Because tongue tie and similar issues are present from birth, we recommend a dental check-up for babies or toddlers, before their teeth come through. This gives the dentist the opportunity to check that all is as it should be, as well as putting remedial treatment in place or referring to another professional if a problem is discovered.
Building Healthy Relationships with the Dentist
Developing a positive attitude towards dental treatment as a child can set individuals up for a lifetime of positive experiences with their dentist as they grow older. By taking children from an early age on a regular basis, dental check-ups become a habit which hopefully will last a lifetime.
A check-up is a great opportunity for children to establish a good relationship with their dentist, become familiar with the procedure and the equipment used and be relaxed about what’s involved. Modern tools, techniques and pain relief mean that nearly all modern dental procedures are extremely comfortable and pain free.
If children are aware of this early on, it minimises the risk that they will develop a dental phobia, or experience undue apprehension, when they visit the dentist as adults. Dentists are aware of the need to make check-ups for kids as pleasant as possible, so children will normally find the experience a good one.
A Great Chance to Teach Good Dental Hygiene
Although most parents are well aware of the need for regular brushing, making sure that a child is using the right technique can be a challenge.
In addition, children may well benefit from flossing or other dental hygiene options. A dentist or dental hygienist is able to provide all the information children need to look after their teeth and gums properly, as well as make sure they are using the correct brushing technique in order to remove as much plaque as possible.
Taking a child at an early age enables professionals to spend time on the basics of dental hygiene, ensuring the child has the right skills and knowledge to adopt correct dental hygiene routines. Because advice is updated periodically, in line with modern research and findings, dental professionals are the best people to advise on the most modern recommendations to keep teeth as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
If a problem with hygiene maintenance is detected at a check-up, appropriate changes can be put in place before any lasting damage is done. As good dental hygiene is one of the foundations of good oral health, learning the best techniques as children can make a significant difference to dental health for life.
Regular Dental Check-ups Enable Problems to be Caught Early
Even with regular brushing and a diet that’s low in sugar, it’s still possible for baby teeth to develop dental caries (decay). This may be due to poor brushing techniques, infrequent brushing or sometimes due to weaker enamel than usual. Although baby teeth do eventually come out, it’s important that any decay is treated as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, untreated decay can lead to considerable pain and discomfort. Children may become reluctant to brush their teeth, due to the pain, or may stop eating many foods because of discomfort when chewing. A check-up every six months or so enables the dentist to spot the early signs of decay and provide fast, comfortable treatment that resolves the problem there and then.
In addition, they can suggest reasons why decay is appearing, enabling preventative action to be taken in order to stop the problem getting any worse. Left unchecked, dental decay usually worsens, progressing to the stage where eventually the tooth may need to be removed.
Not only is this more traumatic for the child, it can have permanent implications for future dental health. In some cases, unchecked decay may even lead to problems elsewhere in the body, as the bacteria responsible can migrate to other areas.
Given above are the main reasons why regular trips to a good pediatric dentist for a thorough check-up should be a regular part of any child’s healthcare routine.
By getting into the habit of going to the dentist regularly, a child can avoid many of the problems which neglected teeth, untreated developmental issues and poor dental hygiene can cause. Why risk it? Call us today to book your child’s dental check-up with a member of our friendly team.