Most of us probably have a family doctor, sometimes more than one. However, very few of us actually have a family dentist. A study conducted on behalf of Delta Dental Plans Association confirms that most American children do not meet with their dentist until they are well above two years of age. This survey of primary caregivers revealed that they did not consider taking their child to a dentist until the age of 2.6 years. ‘Young age’ and ‘not enough teeth’ were two common reasons mentioned by the caregivers to delay the visit to a dentist.
While this is the reality, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends taking your child to a dentist as early as the 1st year or within six months of the first tooth eruption to ensure healthy teeth until your kids lose their first milk teeth naturally.
The Importance of Primary Teeth
The primary or the milk teeth form the foundation of the kid’s first experience with food. Be it trying to eat that squishy banana or chewing a piece of toast, they form their first food memories with the help of their teeth.
According to the AAPD, there are many reasons why a special emphasis must be laid on conserving dental health of children. Here are some:
- Healthy teeth and gums promote proper chewing of food, avoiding choking and indigestion
- Teeth form an important element of experiencing different food tastes and flavours
- Teeth form the basis of speech development as it promotes specific sounds
- Milk teeth serve a special purpose to help saving space for the permanent teeth
- Good teeth promote self-confidence among young children as they feel more confident about themselves
Leading dental practices, such as King Ritson Dental Clinic, stress on the importance of good dental health, especially for young children. Research has depicted that kids who were exposed to regular visits to the dentist grow up to care for their dental health better than those who haven’t. Moreover, they have also been found to suffer no or reduced amount of phobia pertaining to dental visits.
Here is how you can make your kid’s first experience at the dentist worthwhile and ensure that they have little or no anxiety before their first exam:
Make Believe Game
Pretend play helps to build positive affirmations for a child towards their first experience with the dentist. It helps them to know what exactly to expect from a dental visit and to be much less apprehensive when a stranger asks them to open their mouth wide. Making a child understand how dentists examine patients and what to expect helps them to be mentally prepared.
It is a great idea to take your child along for your next dental visit. This will help them to see first hand how doctors examine teeth and administer treatments.
Find Some Children’s Books
Reading about the dentist and dental health from a book helps your kid to understand the importance of dental health in a fun way through stories and songs.
Planning a Dental Visit
Finally, make sure that your child has rested and eaten well on the day of the visit. The last thing that you need is a hunger tantrum.