Building Your Child’s Healthy Smile Starts Early! [BLOG]
At Perfect Smiles, we encourage early childhood dental visits to ensure that your child is receiving the preventive care they need to avoid tooth decay. Our Smart Track Health Program is geared towards educating parents and children on the importance of oral hygiene and the relationship between dental health and systemic health. We are committed to providing our young patients and their parents with the resources and dental care they need to be on a track to strong health for life.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is a common chronic condition of children in the United States, with 20% of children ages 5-11 having at least one untreated decayed tooth.
Our Dental Hygienist Nikki, who has been with Perfect Smiles for the last nine years and is well-loved by our patients, recommends scheduling your child’s first dental visit earlier than the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests.
“Children should start seeing the dentist as early as the age of one-years-old or when the child’s first tooth erupts. It was recommended previously by the ADA to start bringing the child at three-years-old since that is when a child’s full primary dentition is erupted, however, with some children we were finding cavities at this age so starting earlier is the best way to prevent decay.”
She emphasizes that it’s never too early to begin a child’s preventive process and start developing healthy habits.
“It’s important to educate parents at the child’s first appointment and review patient home care habits, diet/nutritional counseling, review medical and family history and discuss any potential habits the child may have such as thumb sucking, use of a pacifier or sleeping with a bottle.”
Routine dental visits from an early age can help anticipate the child’s future needs.
“We can monitor the child’s risk for decay and can suggest potential fluoride tablets or products for decay prevention. As children grow, we monitor how the teeth are erupting & monitor future orthodontic needs or anatomical defects that may need attention, such as frenectomies/removal of tonsils, etc.”
Nikki’s goal is to educate parents on how they can play a proactive role in their child’s dental health.
“It’s more than just brushing and flossing that’s needed to keep a healthy oral cavity. Every child is different and treatment and suggestions differ for each patient. We can recommend preventive procedures and products for the child to use at home. We truly tailor our treatment to the child’s specific dental needs.”