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The Importance of Early Dental Care for Kids

June 24, 2024
The Importance of Early Dental Care for Kids

Getting that first tooth is a rite of passage for both parents and children, representing a milestone in the child’s life as they begin their journey into toddlerhood. While many parents and caregivers mistakenly believe that a child doesn’t need to start seeing the dentist or caring for their teeth until they are school-aged, proper dental care should actually begin as soon as the child is born. It’s the early years that can dictate a child’s dental health throughout their life, so establishing good habits early is key. Not only is early dental care beneficial for a child’s physical health, but it also affects their mental, emotional, and social health and can set them up for success as they cross the lines between childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Tooth Decay is the Most Common Chronic Disease in Children

According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control (CDC), 52% of children have had a cavity in one of their baby teeth by the age of 8 years, making cavities the most common chronic disease in American children. The saddest part of this statistic is that cavities are completely preventable, even in young children, with proper care. It is a lack of early dental care that leads to this staggering number of children affected by tooth decay, which we hope to turn around by educating parents, caregivers, and children on how to care for baby teeth correctly.

Early Dental Care Promotes Good Physical Health

Tooth decay in children causes pain, infection, and an inability to eat, drink, or sometimes even speak properly. If tooth decay is left untreated, the pain and sensitivity can become so great that it stops the child from wanting to eat or drink at all, causing malnourishment and dehydration. Additionally, if the decayed tooth’s infection enters the bloodstream, it can cause cardiovascular problems, sepsis, and even death. Early dental care is vital to prevent these debilitating physical issues caused by poor dental hygiene.

Early Dental Care Promotes Good Mental Health

Chronic pain in childhood, such as the chronic pain caused by cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease, can lead to mental health disorders as the child ages. Pain isn’t the only thing that can contribute to mental and emotional issues - children with severe tooth decay are often teased and bullied for their neglected teeth, as this is usually quite visible to others. All of these effects of poor dental hygiene compound to create a dangerous situation for children who are not able to remedy their dental problems on their own.

Frequently Asked Questions About Early Dental Care

Should my child see a dentist before they start school?

Yes, all children should begin seeing a dentist when their first tooth begins to emerge or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.

My child is scared to visit the dentist…what can I do?

Play “dentist” with your child at home using a toy dentist kit. This is a great way to introduce what will happen at the dentist’s office to the child in a fun way. Older siblings can be a great help with this activity.

Early Dental Care for Kids in the Hudson Valley

Set your child up for success with early dental care right here in the Hudson Valley at Briarcliff Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics. Our team of pediatric dental professionals will give you and your child all the advice, guidance, and care needed to have a healthy mouth, strong teeth, and good overall health. For the best pediatric dental and orthodontic care in Westchester County, schedule an appointment with us by calling 914-762-6260 or requesting an appointment online.

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Briarcliff Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics
77 Sunset Dr
Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510
Tel: 914-762-6260 | Fax: 914-762-6284
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77 Sunset Dr
Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510
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