Age To Bring Child to Dentist?
This is a question we all ask ourselves as parents, what age should your child's first dental check-up be? Do they need to go as they only have baby teeth? Do you bring them when their teeth start to fall out?
Well, the answer is...
Ireland is actually under an ‘Epidemic’ of childhood Tooth Decay. A study conducted by UCC, assessed 347 Children - 60% of these children needed to go under general anaesthesia to get a tooth extracted. All of whom where under the age of 5.
It seems that we as parents - our go-to snacks and drinks for young children are Juices and yogurts - however - while we think these are ok to give our children - UCC's recent study have found that actually, it is these go-to foods that are rotting babies teeth. Sugary cereal bars and drinks are also labelled no-added sugar however they are very acidic on children's teeth.
A recent survey by Mintel who assessed nearly 500 parents of children under the age of 12 found that almost half did not take their children to the dentist. Only one in five thought their children needed to see a dentist once they had developed baby teeth, and only 63% of mothers and 50% of fathers ensured their children brush their teeth every day. No wonder children have tooth decay by the age of 5!
What can we do to help our children’s teeth & their first dentist trip?
Depending on your dentist and your child's comfort level, you may be asked to hold your child while the dentist takes a look in his mouth. After the first visit, you may be asked to step outside so your toddler can gain a sense of independence and confidence and have the opportunity to get to know the dentist and staff on his own. Letting the child know you are beside them and that its going to be ok.
Various dental professionals say once your child has all of their milk teeth – that you should be bringing them for a dental check-up although many professionals say age 3 is a perfect age to bring your child for their first dental check-up.
What we as parents can do to prevent this is once they have their milk teeth bring them to the dentist for a check up – ask your dentist how you can prevent tooth decay in your child and remember many children before the age of 5 in several studies have found that they have tooth decay or have needed to get a tooth extracted.
Here is a few tips to follow do:
- Start cleaning your child's teeth morning and before bed.
- Teach your child to brush 2 times a day – and get them into a routine of adhering to this.
- Protect your child's teeth with fluoride – use mouthwash for kids age 6+
- Give your child healthy, low-sugar foods and drinks (ensure they are actually low in sugar)
- Eat fruit and veg and natural sugars as opposed to chocolates, sugary bars/cereals.
- Take your child to the dentist for regular check-ups.
For younger kids a video such as the below may make it a fun experience; singing along and teaching them how to brush their teeth will make them want to do it.
How does Irish Dental Jobs Help a Childs visit to the dentist?
Irish Dental Jobs have recently launched a campaign to remind parents that children do in fact need to attend the dentist for a check-up before the age of 3.
We have provided all of our dental nursing staff – with child friendly badges to wear with their scrubs – our scrubs are also brightly coloured in purple to allow the child to feel welcome! Our tagline is “smile you’ve found us” so placing a smiley face on the badge was fitting specifically for younger patients. We want all of our staff’s patients to feel at ease when they have their first trip to the dentist – and hope that these badges make that difference!
How much does it cost to bring your child to the dentist in Ireland?
The HSE is obliged to provide dental services free of charge to:
What age should my child’s teeth fall out?
This is also a question we as parents seek to find out…
When your children see their friends “toothless” and the tooth fairy arriving to others – they tend to keep a watchful eye for loose teeth and you then wonder why their teeth haven’t fallen out yet. However, baby teeth falling out early is not a good sign for the health and strength of their adult teeth.
Dr John Walsh, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, RCSI said;
“Children who do not visit the dentist at an early age can experience significant set-backs in terms of dental health”.
“Baby teeth guide adult teeth into their correct position and early loss of baby teeth can result in orthodontic problems later in life”.
He also mentions that by the time a child attends their first dental check-up, there can be substantial decay and damage already done to children’s teeth.
This damage can result in a number of issues for the child’s teeth – including infection and swelling, which can often lead to discomfort, loss of sleep and difficulty in eating.
He states that “these problems can have a significant long-term impact on the growth and straightness of the permanent teeth as healthy first teeth guide the permanent teeth into their correct position as they grow”.
The age you decide to bring your child to the dentist can thus, affect your child’s overall dental health in the future. The one rule to adhere by in asking when you should bring your child to the dentist and at what age, is to remember – once they have teeth to check – they should be attending the dentist for regular check-ups so essentially between the ages of 1-3.
The ages your children’s teeth should fall out are between 4+ to 7. Baby teeth preserve space for permanent teeth until they are developed enough to come in. If the baby teeth come out too early, space can be lost causing crowding of the underlying permanent ones. At the other end, baby teeth that are not lost on time can force the permanent ones to come in crooked creating a more difficult orthodontic condition. If the teeth are crowded, your child may lose two baby teeth naturally to accommodate the eruption of a single larger permanent tooth. If baby teeth are lost prematurely due to an accident or decay, an orthodontist should be consulted to see if a space maintainer is needed.
After a Tooth Falls Out
Have your little one gargle with some warm water once the tooth falls out, especially if there's bleeding. Your child can continue to use the same child-friendly toothpaste. Instruct your child not to brush too hard where the tooth fell out to avoid irritating the area. After losing baby teeth, you should reinforce the importance of good oral health routines, such as brushing at least twice per day, flossing at least once per day and keeping up healthy eating habits. Stress the importance of avoiding soda and other foods and beverages that can damage teeth. All these details are especially important now that your child is growing permanent teeth.
So what age is the best to bring your child to the dentist?
The age you should bring your child to the dentist is between 1-3, as seen in the above studies tooth decay and extraction is quite prominent in children under the age of 5. So follow the rule of – once they have teeth to check – they need to be checked regularly.
Irish Dental Jobs always train our staff to ensure that young patients feel completely welcome and at ease especially for their first trip to the dentist. That is why we are launching our kids campaign with our badges for all of our nursing staff to make that visit easier for the little ones!