Most Parents Don’t Know When Kids Should First See the Dentist

Dentistry Today


The oral health community agrees that babies should first see the dentist when their first tooth emerges, or by their first birthday. However, 56% of parents surveyed by employee benefits provider Unum belief the first visit should occur after that age of 2. Also, 36% of parents think that children between the ages of 3 and 12 should visit the dentist once a year at most, though dentists typically recommend two checkups a year.

“Dentists can help identify and treat oral problems that could hinder a child’s development,” said Jim Di Marino, DDS, Unum dental director. “Regular dental appointments and good oral hygiene decrease the risk that a child may need more intensive dental work in grade school.” 

According to the survey of 730 parents, 90% of parents were on track in believing children should brush their teeth at least twice a day, though they may be using too much toothpaste when they do brush. While fluoride toothpaste prevents cavities, ingesting too much can discolor and pit permanent teeth. Children younger than the age of 3 should use an amount of toothpaste that’s about the size of a grain of rice, while children age 3 to 6 should use an amount that’s about the size of a pea.

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