The Importance of Regular Dental Exams for Children

Apr 6, 2023

Setting up good oral hygiene habits for your child is one of the best ways to promote a healthy smile throughout their life. Even though “baby teeth” (otherwise known as primary teeth) will eventually fall out and be replaced, they still need proper care and attention.

Primary teeth play a crucial role in the development of the jaws and overall dental development. Without primary teeth, a child may have trouble chewing food or speaking clearly. One of the best ways to help care for your child’s teeth is to keep up with regular dental exams. You should schedule your child’s first dentist appointment by around one year of age, or a few months after that first tooth erupts. It may help to choose a dentist that specializes in working with children. Regular dentist appointments and cleanings will ensure that your child’s teeth and gums are healthy and your dentist will be able to spot any signs of cavities, decay, or gum disease. Catching any issues early will make them easier to treat. In this post, we’re going to explain the importance of regular dental exams for children.


1. Your Child’s Primary Teeth are Important

As we’ve already discussed, your child’s first teeth can’t be neglected. Regular dental exams for your child are the best way to ensure that their first teeth are developing properly. Although it varies by individual, a baby’s first tooth will show up around six months of age and your child may have a full set of 20 primary teeth by age three. These first teeth will help your child chew and speak, and save space for your child’s future permanent teeth. Your child might lose their first tooth around six or seven years of age, which will soon be replaced by a permanent tooth. The last primary tooth will typically remain until around 12 years old. So, as you can see, children have some primary teeth in their mouth for quite some time – from babyhood until almost the teen years. Along with regular maintenance such as daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups and cleanings will ensure those important “baby” teeth are well taken care of. When primary teeth are strong and healthy, it’s more likely that permanent teeth will grow to be strong and healthy as well.


2. Regular Cleaning

Your child’s teeth will receive a thorough, professional cleaning at a regular dental exam. (You should still be brushing your child’s teeth for them until around age six. After that, supervision is still required to ensure your child is brushing properly.) A lot of the time tartar and plaque will build up on teeth, especially in those hard-to-reach places like the back of the molars or along the gumline, causing bacteria to stick to teeth. This built-up residue can lead to tooth decay, one of the most common childhood ailments. If left untreated, tooth decay can develop into cavities. Scheduling regular dentist appointments for your child will ensure that any tooth decay is caught early when it’s much easier to be treated. Cavities that are left untreated can damage the teeth and even lead to bacterial infections, affecting the permanent teeth as well.


3. Fluoride Treatment

Depending on the age of your child, fluoride treatment may be given during a dental exam. Fluoride is absorbed into the tooth enamel and makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay, helping to prevent cavities in children. Be sure to ask your dentist if you have any questions about this treatment for your child.


4. Self-Confidence

It might sound superficial, but a beautiful, healthy smile is one of the best things for your child’s self-esteem. Children can be very self-conscious of any irregularities in their mouth or teeth, such as crooked teeth or even bad breath – especially if it’s the source of teasing from other kids. Regular dental checkups can address these concerns. Perhaps your child can be referred to an orthodontist or given tips on oral hygiene at home. We probably don’t realize how many daily interactions can be ruined for your child if they are feeling self-conscious about their smile. This can be an insecurity that grows with them all the way into adulthood if not addressed. Regular dental exams will ensure teeth are healthy and your child is more confident.


5. Check For Other Health Issues

You may not realize that regular dental checkups are not just about oral health. Your dentist will also examine your child’s lymph nodes, jaw, and neck for swelling. Any lumps or irregularities could be a sign of an illness. If any issues are found, your dentist will be able to refer your child to the appropriate medical professional. Gum disease and dry mouth can sometimes be related to other systemic health issues. For example, many people with diabetes also suffer from dry mouth, and periodontal disease can sometimes be the first sign of a person’s diabetes. Periodontal disease is mainly the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bones that surround and support the teeth. Periodontal disease can sometimes lead to stroke and cardiovascular disease. Keeping up with regular dental exams is so important for your child (and adults too) because it’s always best to catch any issues early on, when they are easier to treat.


6. Develop Good Oral Hygiene Habits

As we’ve already mentioned, setting up good oral hygiene habits early in life will set your child up for success. When your child attends regular dental exams, they will be more likely to care for their teeth at home, including brushing, flossing, and eating a healthy diet. A child who is motivated to care for their oral health will be more likely to take care of their health in general and develop into an adult who continues these good habits. You want your child to grow up taking care of their body. Regular dental exams are one of the best ways you can show your child how important this is.


As soon as your child starts sprouting those pearly whites, it’s time to start bringing them regularly to the dentist. A dental office that specializes in children might make for the most pleasant experience. Keeping up with regular dental exams will ensure your child’s teeth and gums are healthy and they feel confident with their beautiful smile!

Let Your Best Smile Shine at Renew Dental in Bridgwater

When you visit Renew Dental in Bridgwater you’ll be greeted by a team of professionals who truly care about you and your oral health. Let us help you renew your smile with preventative dental care and personalized solutions.