The importance of instilling positive oral health habits in children is well known.
However, a recent study by the University of Birmingham School of Dentistry has revealed that as little as 3% of children in the UK visit the dentist before their first birthday. Alongside the University of Edinburgh and Public Health England, researchers found that nationally, only 12% of children had visited the dentist by their second birthday.
Researchers found that between March 2014 to 2016, the NHS spent approximately 3.4 billion per year on dental services, with tooth extractions the main reason for hospital admissions in 5 to 9 year olds.
It’s a startling figure that Ireland isn’t far behind. When it comes to children and taking care of their teeth, a healthy routine and good habits are the best way to begin with. Some 60% of people feel apprehensive about visiting the dentist and it’s completely normal. However, this trait is not innate but learned, which is why parents should make visiting the dentist a positive experience.
Obviously we don’t expect parents to book a 7 month old baby in for a check-up, but why not bring them along if mum or dad are in and we can quickly assess the health of your baby’s teeth. It’s much easier to spot potential issues at this young age as opposed to 5 or 6 years down the line.
Of course, sugar does play a major role in the causes of decay. At this early age, it can be difficult for parents to get their children toe at anything at all, which is why certain treats like yogurt and crisps are a tempting substitute. However, even foods parents think are healthy can cause decay such as fruit juices, raisins and dates.
You’re never going to have a completely sugar-free diet, but foods such as cheese, toast, crackers, veg and even potatoes are all healthy and low in sugar snacks to have between meals.
A healthy oral care routine also goes a long way. Up until the age of 8 or 9, we do recommend that parents brush their childs teeth, as at such a young age they won’t be able to correct brush their teeth. It may sound odd, but we often see adult patients who don’t know how to properly brush their teeth, a trait they picked up as a child.
Once in the morning and once at night, using children’s toothpaste, is more than enough to help your child get off to the right start when taking care of their teeth.
As for how often your child should visit the dentist, it really depends. If your child has a clean bill of health, once a year is fine. However, if there’s a potential issue, we do suggest once every six months.
If you would like to book your child in for an appointment, why not contact us today!