According to a survey conducted on behalf of Delta Dental Plans Association, most American children don’t see their family dentist until they are well over 2 years old—later than dental and medical professionals recommend.
The survey of primary caregivers revealed that, for those children who had seen a dentist (34% had not) the average age at the initial visit was 2.6 years. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within 6 months after the first tooth erupts.
Among children who had never visited the dentist or who have not seen a dentist in the last 12 months, the most common reason (62%) was that “the child is too young” or “doesn’t have enough teeth yet.” Lack of insurance coverage was cited by 12% of the caregivers.

“Many Americans don’t understand how important their children’s baby teeth are to lifelong oral health,” said Jed J. Jacobson, DDS, MS, MPH, chief science officer and senior VP at Delta Dental. “There’s a continuing need for more education to teach practices that will ensure lifelong oral health. And, since people overwhelmingly prefer the dentist and dental hygienist as their primary oral health information sources, dental benefits that encourage visits to the dentist are crucial.”