If you’ve been keeping up with recent news, you must have noticed the shocking trend of ever-increasing numbers of children under two needing to have teeth removed due to decay – often in hospital, under anaesthetic, due to the sheer magnitude of the problem. This is obviously not an ideal introduction to the dentist, with the first impressions being of pain, confusion and, for many, fear. This dental phobia, which is unfortunately very common, can then set in at an early age, with people going through their whole lives too scared to go to the dentist.
Currently, a quarter of five-year-olds have tooth decay, and as few as 12% of children will attend the dentist before their second birthday. Reacting to this, the NHS has come up with a new drive to get more young children to visit the dentist – Smile4Life.
Indeed, the key aim for the scheme is for children’s first dental visit to be before age one. This should be a reasonably easy target to hit, as children’s first visit should ideally be at around 6 months, when their first teeth start to erupt. This would then lead to regular routine appointments, in which the dentist gives advice on oral hygiene such as effective tooth brushing, and checks their milk teeth are healthy and coming through as they should be.
The bottom line is that none of this can happen without parents’ support. If you are a parent, taking your child for dental check-ups and helping them to understand the positives of good oral hygiene will serve your child well into adulthood. It is well documented that children with better oral hygiene are less likely to have issues such as gum disease as adults, because they carry on the good habits learned from regular dental trips.
Give your child a good start – get them into good habits early to help them keep their beautiful smiles.
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