5 Reasons you need to take your child to the dentist

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mind the gap

Why are dental checkups for children important? Because as soon as your child has teeth, they can get cavities. We asked Dr Stephanie Salanitri to give us the top 5 reasons why parents should invest the time in taking their child to have a check-up when nothing seems wrong.

  1. Cavities form quickly

In a child’s mouth a cavity can form in as little as six months. Because baby teeth are much softer and thinner than permanent teeth, an untreated cavity can quickly reach the tooth’s nerve causing more damage. If a child loses a baby tooth to cavity or decay, potential issues could include speech impediments, loss of space for permanent teeth and malformation of bite that could shift the shape of the entire jaw and face.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is one of the most common, yet preventable diseases in children. Of children 2- to 5-years old, 28 percent have already had decay in their baby teeth. To protect your child’s smile it is imperative to schedule dental visits every six months, especially for baby teeth.

  1. Plaque affects the heart

According to the American Heart Association the plaque that builds up on teeth and gums can be directly linked to heart disease, diabetes and dementia. While scientists are still trying to determine the exact cause, it’s a good idea to make sure your child sees a dentist for a dental examination and professional cleaning every six months.  It’s never too early to encourage habits which will keep them healthy for the long term.

  1. Flossing could add years to life

Studies have shown that flossing every day can increase life expectancy.  Children should start flossing as soon as they have teeth next to each other. Ask your dentist to show you how to floss your child’s teeth.

Flossing helps heart health by reducing bacteria in the mouth that can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart attack and strokes. It takes education and instruction from an early age to get children conditioned to floss.

  1. Smiling affects confidence and self-esteem

We want our children to be physically healthy and we want to ensure they are emotionally healthy, too. Children who are ashamed of their teeth often don’t show them, which means they don’t smile. You don’t want your child to be teased or bullied due to the appearance of their teeth, which can be easily fixed.

Studies show that people who smile often are more likely to live happier, longer lives. Smiling makes us more attractive and it relieves stress and helps boost our immune system due to the endorphins, natural painkillers and serotonin released when we are happy. When a child doesn’t like his/her smile, self-esteem suffers.

  1. Make a visit to your dentist the ‘Norm’

Do you know the top three things people fear most? Death takes the number one spot, followed by public speaking at number two. Rounding out the top three is visiting the dentist. Many parents don’t realise that dental care has changed dramatically since they were kids, especially in a dental office designed for children like ours is. We have games, TVs, blankets, toys and friendly staff to make the experience fun.