According to a new report released earlier this year from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI, more than half of almost 800 U.S. parents surveyed did not receive guidance from their child’s physician or a dentist about when their child should first see a dentist.
Among the parents who were not prompted by a doctor or a dentist, only 35% believed dentist visits should start at when children are one year or younger, while 48% said they should start at 2-3 years of age. Alarmingly, one in six (17%) believed that children should delay their first dentist visit until four years or older. Further, one quarter of parents who had delayed dental visits said their child’s teeth are healthy. As providers, AGD members know that this is especially concerning as it is unlikely a parent could detect early tooth decay.
Impact on General Dentistry: In conjunction with the AGD’s ongoing efforts to promote the importance of oral health literacy on Capitol Hill, the AGD is finalizing a letter that will be sent to members of the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees summarizing the above findings and urging lawmakers to take swift action to increase oral health literacy and awareness among all populations.