Without a doctor or dentist’s guidance, some parents don’t follow recommendations for early dental care for their children, a new poll has found. One in six parents who did not receive advice from a healthcare provider believed children should delay dentist visits until age four or older – years later than what experts recommend – according to a C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital poll on children’s health.
Poll co-director Sarah Clark says: “Visiting the dentist at an early age is an essential part of children’s healthcare. These visits are important for the detection and treatment of early childhood tooth decay and also a valuable opportunity to educate parents on key aspects of oral health.
“Our poll finds that when parents get clear guidance from their child’s doctor or dentist, they understand the first dental visit should take place at an early age. Without such guidance, some parents turn to family or friends for advice. As recommendations change, they may be hearing outdated information and not getting their kids to the dentist early enough”.
More than half of parents did not receive guidance from their child’s doctor or a dentist about when to start dentist visits.
Experts say starting dental visits early helps set children up for healthy oral hygiene, with parents learning about correct brushing techniques and the importance of limiting sugary drinks. Dental decay in baby teeth may also be detected, allowing for treatment to avoid more serious problems. In young children with healthy teeth, dentists may apply fluoride varnish to prevent future decay.