As you’re hurrying to stock up on baby clothes, piece together the crib, and install the car seat, there’s one thing you might not have top of mind: adding the new bundle of joy to your medical and dental plans. Dental coverage is crucial 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
It’s important to care for baby teeth, which can lead to healthy, strong adult teeth. The first tooth usually comes in around six months but can emerge as early as three months. As soon as your baby has at least one tooth, you and your child’s dentist should watch for cavities.
Your child’s dentist will check your baby’s gums, teeth, and bite to ensure everything is in order. A dentist 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 is an excellent opportunity to ask questions about your baby’s teeth and get advice on brushing and flossing.
2. Avoid infant tooth decay
Tooth decay is a serious disease that can lead to severe medical problems 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 dental condition 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. When bacteria on the teeth encounter sugar from the liquids, the bacteria form acids that attack teeth enamel. Too much sugar creates tooth decay in a child’s teeth.
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..
- 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 start 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.
Click here for 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%, and your plan may also cover restorative treatments.
How do I sign my baby up for dental coverage?
The birth of a baby is considered a qualifying life event, which means you can make changes to your benefits at that time. Simply add your baby as a dependent under family coverage. If you have questions about your plan, reach out to your benefits administrator, broker, or Delta Dental’s Customer Service.
Don’t have dental benefits? You can sign up for a Delta Dental plan that meets your family’s needs.
When you opt for infant dental coverage, you invest in a lifetime of healthy smiles.