Parents can take better control of their child’s dental health by scheduling interval examinations every six months. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) advises a dental exam by age 1 and within six months of the first tooth eruption. Parents should be wary of early childhood caries (ECC), which is four to five times more prevalent than asthma. ECC is defined by the presence of one or more decayed, missing, or filled tooth surface in a primary tooth. While definitely a preventable and treatable childhood disease, more attention should be given to this to ensure good oral health. Studies have established that poor oral health increases the risks of a poor quality of life and development.
Dentistry has established protocols to treat and prevent ECC such as increasing fluoride treatments, better oral hygiene education, frequent dental visits, and improving a child’s diet. However, education and better dental attendance deserve more value and attention.
Studies have found a parent's education, beliefs, subjective norms, and socioeconomic status can greatly influence his/her decision to take a child to the dentist. Health promotion policies by the dental community should focus on identifying what factors are negatively influencing dental attendance and take steps to promote dental visits.