Which child is the most important one to you?
Growing smiles dentists are urging parents to give their children a break on their visits to the dentist.
The new trend has been popular with many families and is known as ‘the growing smiles’.
A recent survey found that more than 60 per cent of Australians were concerned about dental visits.
The latest data from the Australian Dental Association (ADA) found that the number of visits by children decreased by about 10 per cent from 2014 to 2015, but the trend is expected to continue in the next two years.
The survey of parents, dentists and dental students found that about a third of children between 12 and 15 years old were now in a dental plan, which is a common feature of the growing smiles trend.
“The most common complaint from parents is they can’t go into the dentist for a dental check-up as they’re worried about the dentist’s performance,” Dr Helen Wilson, the president of the Australian dental association, said.
“There is no denying that parents want to make sure their children are getting the best dental care possible.”
Dr Wilson said it was important for parents to take time out of their busy schedules to visit the dentist at least once a week.
“Some parents have a child’s dental plan and they’re happy to see that they have access to a dentist,” she said.
However, Dr Wilson noted that the growing smile trend was not universal, and some children may be experiencing issues due to other reasons.
Dr Wilson advised parents to check their child’s progress and be cautious about how often they visit the doctor, and whether or not the dental plan is being followed.
“We don’t want to see the dentist as a replacement for the dental check up,” she advised.
“It’s important to check whether the dentist is taking their medication and check if they’re getting their gum remover.”
Parents should check their children’s progress, and be wary of other health issues.
“If you don’t feel comfortable going in and being on the same page, or if there’s an issue you don´t understand, then go to the doctor first,” Dr Wilson added.
“I think that’s the one thing that parents should really look out for, because some kids may have an issue with their teeth that doesn’t seem to be addressed.”
The growing smiles dental trend was first popularised in the US by Australian dentist Michael Fennell, who was inspired by the growing teeth of the children in his childrens dental plan.
“My daughters’ dental plan has a growing smile,” Mr Fennells son, James, told News.au.
“When I saw the growing signs of a growing teeth I started getting worried, but then it turned out my daughter’s dental health was improving.”
Mr Fynell is now a consultant in the United States, where his daughter, Emily, is attending college.
Mr Fenech said he was also inspired by growing smiles as he was growing up.
“Growing smiles was something that I was trying to do as an adult,” he said.
“I grew up in rural Australia and we had lots of people that looked like me, and growing smiles was a way for me to express that.”