If you don’t have dental insurance through a workplace, you’ll need to shop around for a plan of your own. And if you have a family with small children, you might be wondering: do babies need dental insurance?
Dental insurance for a baby can cover unexpected problems
Once babies start to get teeth, those teeth can also get damaged in accidents. With all the crawling, toddling and exploring that babies do, they can occasionally fall or chip a tooth. In fact, nearly 50% of children will have some type of oral injury during their childhood.1 Chipped and cracked teeth and other oral injuries can lead to more serious complications, which can be prevented with early intervention.
The American Dental Association recommends that all children should visit the dentist after their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday to help prevent cavities.2
Baby teeth can get cavities too
You might think that cavities are only something to be worried about with older children or teenagers. But according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 21% of children aged two to five had untreated cavities. In fact, dental caries (the scientific term for cavities) are the most common chronic disease among youth aged 6 to 19 years3. These cavities can be caused by natural sugars in fruit juice and even milk, and of course sugary snack foods and sweets.
Another type of cavities, Early Childhood Caries (ECC) can erode the baby teeth of even the youngest child. While baby teeth do eventually fall out, untreated ECC can lead to infections that spread to other parts of the body. Neighboring teeth can shift into the cavities, causing adult teeth to come in crookedly. The cavities can also be painful for babies.4
The ADA views ECC—also called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay—as a significant public health issue in select populations. In order to prevent ECC, the ADA urges parents to bring their children to a dentist within six months of the first tooth emerging. It also recommends that nursing mothers take more initiative with their own dental care, since lowering mutans levels can decrease the risk of a child developing ECC.5
Tooth decay in babies is not just caused by eating unhealthy snack foods. Unrestricted nocturnal breastfeeding, excessive use of a sippy cup and failure to periodically check a baby’s teeth are some innocuous mistakes that can lead to ECC.6
Dental insurance for a baby can encourage healthy habits for life
Research has shown that oral health is linked to overall health and dental insurance plays a roll in helping you maintain your health. Americans with dental benefits are more likely to go to the dentist, take their children to the dentist, receive restorative care and experience greater overall health. Individuals without it are more likely to have extractions and dentures and less likely to have restorative care or receive treatment for gum disease. In addition, those without dental benefits are more likely to have other illnesses, including heart disease (67% more likely), diabetes (29%) and general bone decay (50%).7
Good dental hygiene is also linked to healthy habits and good habits start young. By age nine, children are less able to develop new habits, meaning that good health and hygiene is something you should start teaching as early as possible.8
You won’t want to wait until your kids are older to teach them about the importance of routine dental checkups. These preventive checkups play a role in staying healthy along with good habits like brushing gums and teeth when they come in.
Dental insurance options for your baby
Help protect more than just your baby’s teeth when you provide them with dental insurance coverage. Dental insurance can be covered under a Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plan or a Dental Preferred Provider Organization (DPPO) plan. One difference between a DHMO plan and DPPO plan is whether you would like to pay less now for insurance with a smaller network of providers available, or pay more out of pocket with the trade-off being more choices available.9
Only you can decide what kind of dental insurance is right for you and your children, but Guardian Direct®️ makes it easy with several dental insurance plans to get you started towards better care and health outcomes for your kids.
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. It is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office. Guardian Direct plans are underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America New York, N.Y. or its subsidiaries. Products are not available in all states.