ORANGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tooth decay can have a far-reaching effect on children, leading to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning, a major concern as the school year starts.
One of every five elementary school-aged children are dealing with cavities, and those from low-income families are twice as likely to suffer from tooth decay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Western Dental, a national leader in dental and orthodontic care, stresses the importance of beginning good dental practices as early as possible, with the child’s first checkup six months after the first tooth can be seen – and definitely before their first birthday.
The all-important first visit educates parents about good dental practices, including brushing twice a day using toothpaste with fluoride, and helping children become comfortable with visiting the dentist.
“The parent training really is where the prevention happens,” said Dr. Corina Ramirez, a dentist with Western Dental’s WD Kids. “We don’t want to wait beyond age 1, 2 or 3. Sometimes it’s too late by that time and then we are doing operative procedures. We want to get them before they have cavities.”
Western Dental has a short video on an 18-month-old’s first-ever visit with Dr. Ramirez on YouTube. The eight-minute video covers what parents can expect and how to prepare their children for the first visit to the dentist.
Dental checkups every six months help children avoid cavities and other oral problems. Even though children lose their set of 20 primary teeth – usually around 5 or 6 years old – poor “baby teeth” could mean a higher risk of decay in permanent teeth.
In addition to checkups, Western Dental and Dr. Ramirez encourage parents to avoid sugar-filled drinks, including fruit juices and sodas. Bacteria in the mouth changes the sugar in drinks and food into acid, which can attack teeth for 20 minutes or longer and lead to cavities.
“The first visit is often to take a look and count the teeth and get them up and out of the chair as fast as possible,” Dr. Ramirez said. “We want to make children as comfortable as possible with visiting the dentist and teach parents how to develop good dental practices that help prevent tooth decay.”
ABOUT WESTERN DENTAL
Western Dental (with its affiliates, including Brident Dental & Orthodontics, Access Dental, Blue Hills Dental, South Texas Dental and Vital Smiles) is one of the nation’s largest dental providers and is the leader in accessible, affordable oral healthcare, serving approximately 3.0 million patient visits annually in 320 affiliated offices throughout California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Alabama. In addition to general dentistry, Western Dental offers orthodontics, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and endodontics in its offices, creating a convenient full service “Dental Home.”
In California, Western Dental is the leading provider of services to both adults and children in the Denti-Cal program – part of the Medi-Cal public insurance program that provides health care benefits for more than 13 million low-income individuals and families. Western Dental dentists provided care to more than a half-million Denti-Cal beneficiaries in 2018 and is committed to continuing to partner with the State to improve the program. In Texas, Western Dental is the leading provider of Medicaid services and recently entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement to participate in a value-based care and payment model under the state’s Medicaid program.
Western Dental also provides full-service Dental HMO and vision plans, making care more accessible for people without insurance or in need of supplemental health plan coverage.
All of Western Dental’s services are backed by a unique quality assurance system that electronically monitors all patient visits, treatments, dental staff and clinical performance to enable high-quality care. To learn more about Western Dental or inquire about an office in your community, visit www.westerndental.com or call 1-800-6-DENTAL.