A few months ago, a friend mentioned to me that she had taken her 18 month old to the dentist for a check-up. Whoops, clearly I missed that chapter in my parenting handbook. I hadn't put much thought into taking my son to the dentist because a few months ago he only had 8 teeth out of 20 (not that much has changed at 22 months - he now has 9 teeth - 8 in the front and one molar).
I did some digging online and found out that the American Amademy of Pediatric Dentistry says this
- "In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday."
Immediately, I went onto my insurance providers website to find a local pediatric dentist that takes our insurance. Then I called to make an appointment.
My request for an appointment for my 18 month old was met with laughter and confusion. "Ma'am, your son doesn't need to come in for a check-up until he's 3."
I explained to her my findings online, and that friends had already taken their 18 month olds in, so she said she would double check with the dentist. When she returned from putting me on hold, she chuckled again, and explained that I indeed did not need to bring my son in. I thanked her and hung up.
Confused, I text my friend, who explained that bringing them in early had been recommended to her so your child can get used to going to the dentist. I decided to put it on the back burner anyway, I mean he only has 8 teeth after all!
In the past 6 months since my appointment attempt, I've come across many articles touting the importance of getting a dentist check-up early.
Brush-Baby, a baby and kids oral health company in the UK released new survey data in the Brush-Baby Mums & Gums Survey reporting mothers' habits and perceptions on baby oral care and teething.
You can read the
- The survey reveals confusion amongst mothers including what age a child should first visit the dentist, with only 13% believing they should first take their baby to the dentist at 6 months.
72% of mothers say they have never seen any information on gum care for babies. The study also shows a lack of information from health professionals on baby oral care and teething.
- Over half of mothers (53%) report turning to their mothers for information on managing their babies' teething pain and 17% nationwide asking their grandmothers (rising to 26% - over 1-in-4 in London), with only 10% saying that they get this information from their dentist.
- Indeed 94% of mothers believe that either GPs, health visitors or dentists are best placed to provide baby oral care advice, with almost a quarter (22%) saying it should fall to health visitors.
- One in four (25%) of five year olds have tooth decay with an average of 3.4 decayed teeth.
I wanted to share in the hopes of helping any other confused mamas out there. I could always use some advice on teething (which never seems to end) and oral care so it sounds like a solid idea to me. I'll just have to find another pediatric dentist that doesn't find it so funny.