Even babies need to visit the dentist. Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) has started an educational program to inform parents just how early they should be taking their kids to the dentist. Hawaii’s children continue to rank at the bottom of the nation when it comes to their oral health, according to surveys by the Pew Charitable Trusts. HDS, the state’s largest dental benefits provider, is trying to improve Hawaii’s ranking by encouraging parents to take their children to a dentist before they are one year old.
HDS is rolling out the program “Dentist by One” this month. It's urging parents to take their children to see a dentist by their first birthday. It includes TV and radio public service announcements and educational brochures for new parents distributed by pediatricians.
The campaign’s message is based on recommendations of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that children’s first dental visit should occur within six months after their first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday.
Mark Yamakawa, the HDS president and CEO said, “It’s best for your child to see a dentist early because preventive care can save money and their teeth. It’s just like a well-baby visit with a pediatrician.”