According to data analysed by NHS Digital, nearly 60% of children aged one to four did not visit a dentist during last year.
This figure is for the children aged five to nine years old 32.7% and 27.6% of ten to fourteen years old. Overall 41.4% of children under 17 did not see an NHS dentist during 2018.
It is important that a child’s first visit to the dentist is a regular check-up, ideally before the age of one. This will increase the chances of a positive, first interaction between the child and the dentist and not an experience associated with pain. Regular brushing of the teeth for about two minutes as soon as the first baby teeth break through will lead to good oral health. Additionally, regular visits to dentist will underpin this, preventing future problems and allows early intervention from the dentist when necessary. When brushing you should use appropriate fluoride tooth paste for the age of the child and should only spit the excess tooth paste out (not rinsing) allowing the tooth paste to remain on the teeth and work as well. Children should not lick or eat the tooth paste and whilst brushing their teeth they should be supervised by a parent or carer.
Visits to the dentist should be fun, with parents acting as a role model by having their teeth checked which will reassure the hesitant child.
If children visit the dentist when they have a problem, the experience can cause fear and consequently poor attendance which in turn may allow future problem to continue undetected. Prevention and early intervention if necessary is the key to future good oral health and a successful relationship with the dentist.
Regular daily brushing will foster a culture of responsibility amongst the children and will establish the self confidence in children. This will lead to the belief, that the child knows that they are able to take care of their oral hygiene and knowing how to do it. Do not hesitate to ask your dentist about how to brush your child’s teeth more efficiently.