No child likes being dragged by their parents to see their dentist Harley Street, but as the incidence of childhood tooth decay continues to rise in the UK, it is now more important than ever before that your child attends dental checkups.
Many adults are unaware but baby teeth are actually significantly thinner than adult teeth. The enamel is at a higher risk of decay, and as children generally are more prone to eating sweets, this can create a storm of potential dental issues.
And while it is easy to assume that due to baby teeth not being permanent their importance is not as high, having them removed early due to decay can be detrimental to the adult teeth that form behind them.
Luckily, there are many ways that a dental professional can protect baby teeth. The use of fluoride sealants in child dentistry creates an additional barrier against the acids and bacteria in the mouth that can cause tooth decay. Hence why it is so important for your child to attend biannual dental checkups.
Many parents are aware that in the UK, dental teams typically assess children for signs of orthodontic issues by the age of 7.
The early prevention of orthodontic issues can have lifelong benefits to the children and their oral and general health. Not only are braces free in the UK for children under the age of 18, but the use of braces is generally considered more tolerable than orthodontic care later in life. And while your child is unlikely to thank you for this when the braces are first fitted, it is almost certain that they will be grateful in their adult years as they would have a healthier mouth and straighter smile.
Fear of dentistry
There has been a wealth of research into why adult patients are phobic of attending dental checkups.
And, not surprisingly, it seems to point towards exposure to poor dental care in the early years of life, particularly under the age of 6. It is also suggested that phobias in adult life may also be due to attending dental checkups when there are more severe issues, such as the need to extract teeth.
This is why many dental teams will recommend that you bring your child to their first dental appointment by the age of 1 or when their first baby tooth has begun to show; whichever is earlier.
This will help them to become more familiar with the procedures that surround dental checkups, the noises and smells of the surgery and, of course, what is involved. If you too are phobic of the dentist it may be wise to have another family member attend the appointment with your child. This is because children instinctively pick up on the energies of the adults that are accompanying them, and if you are phobic, your child is likely to feel very scared and unsure in this new environment.
Moreover, research has shown that early exposure to dental surgeries and dental professionals has a lasting impact. Adults who were exposed to dental surgeries within the first 6 years of their life without issue generally have better oral health in their adult years.
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