Toddler teeth: At what age should children visit the dentist?
New figures released by the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons have put the care of children’s teeth firmly back into the spotlight.
As reported in The Telegraph, statistics show that 80% of one to two-year-olds in England did not visit an NHS dentist in the year to 31 March 2017, while 60% of children aged one to four failed to attend a dental check-up at all in the same period.
According to the FDS, there are ‘widespread misunderstandings’ about when infants should start attending dental check-ups. This has resulted in dental problems being detected too late, and children requiring extractions at a young age – treatment a dentist may have been able to prevent through earlier intervention.
The earlier a child visits the dentist, the better. By starting a routine and attending regular check-ups, the dental chair doesn’t become such a scary, unknown place and children tend to be more aware of the importance of good oral hygiene if they’re in the habit of seeing a dentist.
Guidance recommends that infants should have regular check-ups as soon as their first teeth appear – this is usually around six months of age. If you do have young children, make sure you’re with a dentist who makes your child’s experience a positive one, and provides you with support at the right time on how to encourage good oral hygiene – no matter how young your child is.
Don’t forget, NHS dental care is free for children, and 10Dental – a practice I’ve worked at for almost ten years – is able to offer NHS treatment to a set number of young people. For more information, fill out the enquiry form here.