As you’re hurrying to stock up on baby clothes, piece together the crib, and install the car seat, there’s one thing parents might not have top of mind: adding the new bundle of joy to your medical and dental plans. Dental coverage is an important way to protect your baby’s health now and as they grow. If dental coverage isn’t on your new baby checklist, here are three reasons to consider it:
1. Get access to dental care for your baby’s oral and overall health
Babies can develop cavities before they can even walk. And it’s important to care for baby teeth, which can lead to healthy, strong adult teeth. Teeth usually come in around six months, but they can emerge as early as three months. As soon as your baby has at least one tooth, you and your child’s dentist will want to watch out for cavities.
Your child’s dentist will check your baby’s gums, teeth, and bite to make sure everything is in order. He or she can spot early signs of cavities, gum irritation, or misaligned teeth. Your child’s dentist may recommend preventive services, like cleanings or fluoride treatments.
A dental visit also lets you ask questions about your baby’s teeth and get advice on brushing and flossing. Yep, just like you, your baby needs daily oral health care.
2. Avoid infant tooth decay
Tooth decay is a serious disease that can cause infection in other parts of the body. What’s more, children who have had tooth decay are more likely to have dental problems as teenagers and adults.
Are you familiar with baby bottle tooth decay or baby bottle rot? This is a dental condition that often occurs when a young child naps or goes to bed at night with a bottle filled with a sugary liquid, such as milk or juice. This creates a significant amount of tooth decay in a child’s teeth.
When bacteria on the teeth come into contact with sugar from the liquids, the bacteria form acids that attack teeth enamel. This causes tooth decay.
Here are tips for avoiding baby tooth decay:
- Do not allow your child to go to bed with a bottle filled with anything but water.
- Wean your child from the bottle between 12 and 14 months of age.
- Follow the appropriate oral health routine for your child’s age. Wipe your baby’s gums after each feeding. When your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to begin brushing. Clean and massage gums in areas that remain toothless and begin flossing when all the baby teeth have erupted—usually by age 2 or 2.5.
- If you live in an area without fluoridated water, talk with your child’s dentist about fluoride supplementation.
- Take your child to the dentist within six months of the eruption of their first tooth and no later than your child’s first birthday.
View tips on maintaining a baby’s oral health. When you prevent (or catch) cavities early on, you help ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles for your child.
3. Save on dental costs
When your baby is covered under your dental plan, you won’t have to pay for dental visits out of pocket. Most plans cover exams, cleanings, and other diagnostic or preventive services at 100%. Your plan may also cover restorative treatments.
How do I sign my baby up for dental coverage?
Good news: Having a baby counts as a qualifying life event, which means you can make changes to your benefits at that time. Just add your baby as a dependent under family coverage. If you have any questions about your plan, reach out to your benefits administrator, broker or HDS Customer Service.
Not covered? You can sign up for a HDS Dental plan that meets your family’s needs.
When you opt for infant dental coverage, you invest in a lifetime of healthy smiles.