How Often Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

How Often Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

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Regular dental care is important for children’s oral health, similar to yearly well-child visits to your pediatrician. Teeth cleanings maintain the health of the teeth and mouth, and oral evaluations are important for early detection of oral health concerns.

How often should you take your child to the dentist? Here’s what pediatric dentists recommend.

What is Preventive Dentistry?

As the name suggests, the purpose of preventive dentistry is to prevent typical oral health problems. The goal of dental cleanings is to remove plaque and calculus from the teeth before it can cause cavities and gum disease. Oral examinations and dental X-rays can identify cavities, signs of gum disease, and soft tissue abnormalities.

Recommended Schedule for Preventive Dental Visits

Pediatric dentists recommend that children have preventive dental visits every 6 months for an average of twice a year. This is the ideal schedule for the average child with no major oral health risks.

Benefits of Regular Preventive Dentistry

Preventive dentistry offers many benefits for children:

  • Early detection. When oral health problems are detected in the early stages, it results in better treatment outcomes for patients. Small cavities are easily filled, gingivitis (early stage gum disease) is easier to treat, and abnormalities that are potentially cancerous can be biopsied and treated if necessary.
  • Insurance covers preventive dentistry. If you have dental insurance coverage for your child, preventive dental appointments are typically covered every 6 months. Dental X-rays are typically covered once a year, as well as fluoride treatments.
  • Preserve the natural teeth. The ultimate goal of dental care is to keep your natural teeth healthy and in place for your lifetime. Primary (baby) teeth are gradually shed as the permanent teeth come in, but baby teeth are just as important. They serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth, provide chewing capabilities, and aid in speech development.
  • Better overall health. Oral health is closely tied to overall health and wellness. Healthy teeth and gums are not only indicators of balanced nutrition, they allow children to eat a variety of foods. A healthy mouth can also improve respiratory, cardiovascular, and digestive health.

The Importance of Oral Hygiene At Home

Professional dental care twice a year is not enough to maintain your oral health. Good oral hygiene habits at home are just as important. Children should brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Young children may need brushing assistance until they learn proper technique. Often children think they are brushing their teeth well, but it is still easy to miss spots that may result in cavities. Proper flossing technique is also important, making sure to get the floss down into the spaces between the teeth and gums.

Frequently Asked Questions About Preventive Dentistry

Doctor visits are only once a year. Why are dental visits twice a year?

Many parents ask this question, and the answer is that oral health requires more maintenance than general health. Plaque builds up on the teeth that needs to be removed before it hardens into calculus and begins causing problems such as cavities and gum disease.

When should my child have their first dental visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that children should have their first oral evaluation around age one. By this age most children will have some visible teeth that should be checked and cleaned. The first tooth will typically erupt between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

Why Choose Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry?

If it has been more than 6 months since your child has had a dental visit, it is time to schedule an appointment with Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry. We provide preventive dental care for children because we believe in the importance of oral health and how it contributes to the overall well-being of each and every child. We make dental care fun and relaxing so that children look forward to coming to our office for their regular visits.

Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment at one of our 6 convenient locations.