For most grown-ups, seeing a dentist once or twice a year is enough. However, children's dentists may sometimes recommend that children get seen more often than that. If you've wondered why this is, there are a few general reasons for it. Of course, your child may also have personal health needs that increase the number of times they should see a dentist. Here are three of the leading reasons for children to see the dentist more than grown-ups.
Questionable Dental Care
Most dentists can trust their patients to care for their own teeth sufficiently. However, the same can't always be said of children. Parents can monitor their kids to make sure that they're brushing, and with instruction, it is possible for children to maintain good oral hygiene at home. However, that's not always the case, and unless you watch your child like a hawk every time, you can't guarantee they're always doing a good job.
Children will sometimes rush through brushing, forget where they were, or make other mistakes that can allow plaque and bacteria to thrive. As a result, your child may be at a higher risk of developing enamel damage and cavities, and seeing a dentist more often can help to counteract that risk.
Another reason why dentists often want to see kids more often than adults is because children generally don't floss. Many adults don't, either, but adults typically at least have the knowledge and experience to recognize when something is stuck inbetween their teeth to remove it safely. Children often won't notice the sensation of something being between their teeth, and either won't or can't floss to get it out. Regular flossing is almost unheard of among kids, which means that anything that gets between their teeth is likely to stay there and develop plaque at an accelerated rate. This can lead not only to cavities, but can also cause the interior edges of the teeth to wear down, making them more susceptible to overall damage.
Finally, perhaps the biggest difference between adult and child dental patients is that kids are still having their teeth develop and grow in. Your dentist doesn't just want to see your child to help clean the teeth that are there, but also to ensure that those that haven't come in yet are growing properly. Baby and adult teeth can potentially grow in sideways or even upside down, where they can cause tissue damage or be destructive to neighboring teeth. With these problems easily revealed with dental examinations and x-rays, going more often can help your child's dentist to recognize a problem early on and fix it before it becomes scary or painful for your kid.