And it is one of the main reasons behind an epidemic of tooth decay in toddlers.
It may make shocking reading, but national statistics show that some 80 per cent of one to two year-olds in England did not visit a dentist last year. If you extend the age group to include one to four year-olds then the figure drops slightly – but only to 60 per cent and this, say experts, is a direct contribution to a frightening rise in tooth decay in toddlers.
As a premier dental practice we know perfectly well that the earlier a child sees a dentist the earlier any potential problems can be spotted and the sooner the child will learn to trust and be relaxed in a dentist’s chair.
Official guidance states that youngsters should be taken to start regular dental check-ups as soon as their first teeth appear (usually at around six-months). Parents should ensure that they continue to monitor their child’s dental health with regular twelve-monthly appointments.
Here is another shocking statistic. In 2015/16 there were 9,200 tooth extractions for children aged between one and four. By far the biggest majority of these extractions were for tooth decay in toddlers, which meant that these had to be undertaken in hospital … and under general anaesthetic!
Even worse is the fact that 90 per cent of tooth decay in toddlers would be preventable if parents simply stuck to approved dental hygiene procedures.
Preventative dentistry means that a child’s teeth are well looked after on a daily basis simply by ensuring that they are helped to brush their teeth properly and that parents take a sensible approach to ensuring that their children do not binge on sweets and sugary, fizzy drinks.
Dental check-ups in early years are not all about looking for tooth decay in toddlers, because even more important in our opinion is getting children used to and feeling comfortable with their dentist. Even at the very earliest age simply getting a child to open their mouth for their dentist and allowing them to look at their teeth is an invaluable first step to ensuring healthy teeth for life.
Leaving that crucial first visit to a dentist until there is a problem such as tooth decay in toddlers will almost certainly result in a stressful and traumatic experience that could have a serious effect on a child’s willingness to engage in the dental process.
Bad childhood experiences at the dentist can lead to future dental phobia and nervous patients syndrome that can result in a lifetime’s fear of dentists and consequently years of painful dental problems.
Our advice is quite simply to make an appointment for your child to see one of our dental team as soon as their first teeth begin to appear. We’ll probably do nothing more than coax them into opening their mouth and have a quick look at their teeth. But that initial worry-free experience and the confidence it brings could very well provide the foundations for a lifetime of oral health and beautiful teeth.
If you would like one of our dental team to take a look at your child – whether there are signs of tooth decay in toddlers or not – please do not hesitate to contact us right away. You can call us on 0161 951 7295 or alternatively you can contact us by using the online form on our Appointments page.