When you’re raising children, there are so many things to consider that it can easily feel overwhelming. Everyone knows the importance of diet, education, and socializing for children, but what about their oral health? Thinking about getting your child to the dentist may not be the first thing on your mind, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Even if your child has healthy teeth, making sure to schedule regular dental appointments is very important. If you’re not convinced, here are four reasons why good oral health for children in San Diego is important.
Keeping “Baby Teeth” Healthy
Children start to develop primary teeth (also known as baby teeth) at around six months of age. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children have their first dental appointment by their first birthday or about six months after their first tooth erupts. Generally, all of the primary teeth will grow in by the time your child reaches two and half years of age.
You may be wondering why it’s so important to care for baby teeth that will eventually fall out. Primary teeth actually play several key roles in helping your child develop:
- They help your child chew properly, allowing them to break food down into digestible pieces.
- They are involved in speech development and help your child pronounce words properly.
- They play a key role in the alignment and spacing of permanent, adult teeth
If your child’s primary teeth aren’t growing properly or are developing problems, a dentist can identify these issues before they become worse. Make sure to schedule your child’s first appointment in a timely manner to keep these important primary teeth healthy.
Developing Good Oral Habits Early in Life
Setting children up with a good foundation for taking care of their teeth is a lesson that will carry on into their adult lives. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost 50% of children under the age of 12 have some form of tooth decay. Other studies have shown that poor oral hygiene in the first two years of life is linked to tooth decay, so it’s never too early to get your child on the path to good oral hygiene to keep them from joining that statistic.
As a parent, you can help your child establish good oral hygiene. Brush your child’s teeth when they’re too young to do it themselves, and then teach them how to do it when they get older. Encourage flossing and eating a healthy diet to prevent cavities. Most importantly, make sure you make a dentist appointment for your child every 6 months.
To help establish good oral health for children in San Diego, our dentists will work with your children to show them proper hygiene habits, like the best way to brush their teeth. With parents and dentists working together, your child will learn a strong foundation for dental care.
Preventing Problems Later in Life
Dental decay can occur in children as young as one year of age. If dental decay goes untreated, it can worsen and lead to dental abscesses. Abscessed teeth may need to be extracted, which can create even more problems down the line. Teeth may shift into this new gap, which may require orthodontic intervention when the permanent teeth start to come in.
Permanent teeth start erupting in children from age six onwards. When these teeth start to come in, it is especially important to make sure your child’s teeth are healthy and well cared for. When your child has a mix of primary and permanent teeth in their mouth, teeth are more prone to developing cavities. If a permanent tooth develops a cavity, it can wind up with a reservoir of bacteria that can degrade its enamel. Permanent teeth have to last a lifetime, so any problems that occur when they first erupt will stay with your child for life.
All of these issues can seem frightening, but they are preventable. At Sedation Dental Center, we understand the importance of oral health for children in San Diego and its role in preventing all of these issues. We’ll help your child maintain healthy teeth and will catch any problems before they become serious.
Establishing a Healthy Relationship with the Dentist
Alarmingly, between 9% and 20% of adults in the United States have some form of dental anxiety. This anxiety can be so severe that adults avoid the dentist entirely, which takes a toll on their oral health. It’s common for this fear to start in childhood. However, your child doesn’t have to grow up to be someone with dental anxiety. Establishing a healthy, happy relationship with a dentist early in life can help prevent your child from developing a fear of the dentist.
In order to create a good relationship between patient and dentist, it’s important to choose a provider who has experience working with children. To ensure the best oral health for children in San Diego, our office has a kid-friendly environment with toys and decorations to create a welcoming space for your child. If your child learns to associate the dentist with a positive, even fun space, they will be much less likely to develop dental anxiety. Without this fear, your child will be much more likely to continue regular dental visits as they grow into adults, which means a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Every parent wants the best for their child, and surely that attitude should extend to their oral health as well. To help establish a lifetime of good oral health for children in San Diego, contact Sedation Dental Center to make your child’s appointment today by calling us at (619) 493-4188. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have in getting your child on the track to a life of healthy teeth.