American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children be taken to the dentist by age one. A new survey indicates that 75% of parents are not complying with that recommendation.
Conducted by Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine, the survey found that parents in the general population bring their children to the dentist for the first time at the average age of 2-and-a-half, while parents who fall under the US poverty threshold bring their children to the dentist for the first time at approximately 3-and-a-half years old.
“The lack of knowledge parents have, and the lack of urgency of taking their children to the dentist by age one, is very concerning to me,” said lead author of the survey report Timothy S. Martinez, DMD, College of Dental Medicine Associate Dean of Community Partnerships and Access to Care. “Age one is a perfect time to get a child into the dental office and begin preventative dental care that will minimize decay and early childhood caries.”
The survey was conducted in the United States among 304 adults, ages 18 to 65, in the general population, and 75 adults, ages 18 to 65, who fell below the poverty threshold. Among the survey respondents with children under the age of 18, a majority of parents are not taking their children to the dentist before age one, even though 60% of the parents were aware of the AAPD’s recommendation. Across all socioeconomic groups, a majority of parents are not complying simply because they “didn’t think it was necessary.” The second most common reason was that their child’s pediatrician or doctor said it wasn’t necessary. The reasons diverge among low-income respondents, with 22% worrying that they can’t afford dental care or that insurance won’t cover it. Although compliance for one-year-olds’ dental visits was very low, 88% of parents took advice from their dental professional and had sealants applied when recommended.
(Source: Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine; Feburary 17, 2015)