At the height of COVID-19, an estimated 40% of parents avoided dental care for their children. Many cited concerns of infection as well as limited office hours and closure of their preferred practice.

While unintentional, avoiding a pediatric dentist can have a lasting negative impact on your child’s health. There are many benefits of seeing a local dentist at a regular interval. But how often should your child be going?

 Many practices are easing access to care, so now more than ever is a good time to see your pediatric dentist. Keep reading to learn about dental care for your child as well as how often you should be taking them for a check-up. 

Age for Pediatric Dental Care

Visiting the dentist can often be a frightening experience for a child. This is why it is important to start visiting the dentist when a child is young. Most experts recommend that a child sees a dentist for the first time at around one year old.

At this early age, dental services will be basic and gentle, as your child’s baby teeth begin to come in. These dentist appointments will consist of cleaning and flossing, with possible fluoride care. An X-ray will rarely happen at this young age unless needed.

X-rays will only be requested at young ages if there is concern over how your child’s adult teeth are coming in. This will give a better picture to the dentist and help them make a plan for further dental care.

When children see a dentist for the first or second time, the pediatric dentist will go over any concerns they might have with you and give you helpful tips on how to care for your baby’s teeth.

Top Reasons to See a Pediatric Dentist

There are many reasons why you should start having your child see a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will likely encounter issues that can impact other parts of your child’s health. 

Tooth Decay

One of the biggest issues your dentist might encounter when cleaning your child’s teeth is tooth decay. This is when there is a breakdown in enamel on your child’s teeth. 

Tooth decay can be caused by several different foods or drinks consumed. Most notably, foods with sugars or starches that are left on teeth. The most common for children are pop, candy, or cereal.

When these are not brushed off, plaque eventually forms which leads to cavities. Cavities can cause pain or irritation to their mouth, and sensitivity when eating certain foods. Often, these cavities aren’t noticed by you or your child, but by their dentist during their cleaning. 

To treat cavities for young children, dentists will often do a special filling that is designed for kids, although this can vary based on the overall state of the cavity, as well as your child’s age.

Gum Disease 

Without seeing a pediatric dentist, your child is also at risk for gum disease. This disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth and can lead to swollen gums, bleeding while brushing, and continuous bad breath. 

Treatment can range from as simple as brushing to as complex as surgery to get to areas affected by the disease. Children will likely have the mildest version of the disease, gingivitis, but it is still not something you will want to deal with.

There are easy ways to prevent gum disease. Eating healthy foods and taking in fewer sweets can help keep your teeth clean, as well as regular brushing and flossing. By seeing a pediatric dentist regularly, your child can avoid dealing with periodontal disease.

Surprising Reason to See a Pediatric Dentist

While those are both obvious reasons why seeing a pediatric dentist is important, there is at least one reason that is not quite as obvious as the rest. You might find yourself surprised by this important reason.

Speech Issues

Your child should see a pediatric dentist because doing so can help improve their speech. The formation of words and sounds often depends on certain teeth. When your child’s teeth are not kept healthy, it can lead to speech problems and an inability to pronounce certain words.

Getting a tooth extraction before their adult teeth are ready to come in can experience delays in speech development. Commitment to brushing and flossing can help prevent this from happening.

Another issue that can affect pronunciation is the alignment of your child’s teeth. Most often, your child’s teeth will come in aligned and there will not be any issues. But, sometimes there can be a slight misalignment, causing issues with speech and language development.

How Often Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist?

Seeing a pediatric dentist on a semi-regular basis is important for your child’s smile. Most dentists will recommend a 6-month interval for cleaning. Starting your child off young can help them overcome any dental anxiety they may have.

Schedule Your Visit Today

Now is a great time for your child to start seeing their pediatric dentist. By visiting every 6-months, your child can have clean teeth and avoid certain diseases. Many children are afraid of dentists, but visiting when they are young can build confidence and trust during a visit. 

In this article, you have learned some of the key issues that can be avoided by seeing a pediatric dentist. If you are looking for a top pediatric dentist in Brentwood, Tennessee, contact us today to schedule an appointment, and see why so many trust us with their smile.