Anytime we discuss oral hygiene it is important to remember that it is important to develop procedures that will help children care for their teeth through their lifetime.
Why are annual checkups important for oral hygiene?
The very first reason is to get needed maintenance such as flossing and cleaning before these things can become problems.
A visit to the dentist allows parents and children to ask questions that have come up. This may be related to care, pain, injury or even cost of procedures. Sometimes families shy away from dental care because they are concerned as to the cost and, especially if you have a regular dentist, they may offer a discount or give you payment arrangements. The more of a relationship you have with a professional the better.
The dentist is able to see the state of the gums. The dentist is able to see the state of the teeth and he or she can see how they are coming into the mouth. Sometimes practices such as pacifier use can create problems with the mouth’s shape and can cause the teeth to protrude or split. The dentist can take corrective action early.
There are three long-term reasons to have an annual exam.
When things begin to go awry with a child’s mouth it often takes extensive treatment and long-term planning. The earlier treatment begins, the better the chance of getting a good result.
As I previously said, payment options are more likely to be doable if you are working closely with the dentist when the problem first comes up.
Every year at an annual exam, the dentist is able to compare the original X-ray to the current X-ray. This will give him an idea of how much the mouth and teeth have changed and give him the most effective method of dealing with problems. If you stop and think about it, missing annual exams could allow untoward problems to occur without treatment.
In my case I did not see a dentist regularly and as it turned out my saliva damaged my enamel. By the time this was discovered it was too late to completely salvage them.
A short-term benefit that has long-term benefits is for the dentist to be able to treat minor cavities as well as perhaps something like bad breath.
These types of annual exams not only keep the child up-to-date on handling existing problems, but every time he visits the dentist the practice of care of the teeth are reinforced.
Children need to be told over and over how important tooth care is and, once again, it is better that it become a habit rather than something that a parent has to keep after the child to do.
We only get one shot at caring for our teeth. If children don’t develop good habits as youngsters, then when they get on their own they won’t follow through and will probably pay a price.