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Don’t Wait Until Kindergarten for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child’s first dental visit should occur by his or her first birthday. In many cases your dentist will not find anything wrong, but parents shouldn’t consider this a “wasted” visit. It is the beginning of instilling a lifetime of good dental care, which many studies have proven lead to high self-esteem, more confidence, good grades, better overall health, and success in career and personal relationships.

About 37 percent of children have not seen a dentist before entering kindergarten, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although many Americans mistakenly assume that oral disease has been eradicated, nearly one-third of U.S. children have little or no access to dental care and suffer from oral diseases that compromise health, appearance, and self-esteem.

Most dental problems are preventable, but if not treated, they escalate, leading to cavities, gingivitis, and missing teeth. These in turn affect a wide range of social relationships.