Research that has recently been published in the UK has revealed that a growing number of parents are not doing enough to look after their toddlers’ teeth. By not getting your young ones into the habit of going to the dentist regularly, you risk problems developing even at an early age. So why is it so important for your dentist to check the milk teeth and why should you start early?
The milk teeth myth
Dental care in the UK is available for free to all children under the NHS. Despite this, research shows that over 80% of one to two-year-olds in England did not visit a dentist in the last year. A significant proportion have never even been. This is largely attributed to many parents being less inclined to worry about the milk teeth, which are naturally lost as the child grows.
However, it is a myth that children do not need to see the dentist until their ‘adult’ teeth start growing. There are two reasons why children should start having dental visits as early as possible. Firstly, so that they can become familiar with the environment. Secondly, so that any problems can be identified early on.
The problem is not just parents not knowing either. There are mixed and sometimes conflicting messages from the NHS which are also contributing to the problem.
With modern dentistry techniques and specialist equipment tooth extractions are relatively painless for children, but the experience can still be distressing for both children and parents. It also puts further strain on the NHS.
Latest figures published by the Royal College of Surgeons show that there were 9,220 cases of tooth extractions performed in hospitals in England on children aged one to four – which comes out as a 24 per cent rise in a decade, with 48 of the cases involving infants were less than a year old.
In 90% of cases, the tooth extraction was due to tooth decay – a problem that is easily avoidable with a minimum of effort.
An informed approach
The research hasn’t been published to point fingers, but to help all concerned to take a more informed approach to help reduce the scale of the problem. The fundamental message is simple – get your little ones to the dentist as soon as you can, ideally as soon as the first teeth appear in the mouth.
Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at The Royal College of Surgeons, said: “The earlier a child visits the dentist, the earlier any potential problems can be picked up, so it is easier to prevent children having to go through the trauma of having their teeth removed under a general anaesthetic.”
It is a great idea to bring them along to your own appointments. This allows them to become “comfortable in a dental environment” and reduce the likelihood of developing a fear of the dentist.
As well as regular dental visits, lifestyle factors have a big impact. Introducing a low-sugar diet and discouraging sweet snacks and drinks between mealtimes can have a dramatic effect, and of course, ensure that your children brush their teeth twice a day under supervision.
At Gwersyllt Dental Care in Wrexham, we offer a wide range of dental services for the whole family in a relaxed, comfortable and stress-free environment. To enquire about becoming a member now or to book an appointment, call us on 01978 757409 or click here to contact us online.
Based on an article published in the Telegraph online, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/08/toddlers-having-teeth-parents-wont-take-dentist/