National Children’s Dental Health Month

Despite the fact that tooth decay is almost entirely preventable, it is the most common chronic disease in children.

Untreated dental disease can compromise a child’s ability to eat well, sleep well, and function well at home and at school. Of course, children need their teeth to eat properly, talk, smile, and feel good about themselves. However, a child with cavities may have difficulty eating, smiling, and may even have problems paying attention and learning at school because of the discomfort and insecurity associated with decaying teeth.

According to the American Dental Association,

  • 20% of children aged 5-11 have at least one untreated cavity, and
  • 13% of adolescents aged 12-19 have at least one untreated cavity.

Unless tooth decay is taken care of early on with appropriate treatment and preventative measures, tooth decay can become irreversible and even lead to infection of the teeth and gums and tooth loss. 

How to Prevent Cavities

The good news about dental hygiene is that cavities are preventable by practicing good oral hygiene. The practices of oral hygiene listed are easy to do, but it is important to make sure children consistently practice good oral hygiene and begin to initiate it themselves! So, encourage children in their development of good oral hygiene and try to make it fun!

  • Fluoride varnishAsk your healthcare provider about fluoride varnish, a high concentration fluoride coating that can be applied as soon as the first tooth appears and can prevent 33% of cavities in baby teeth.
  • Brush daily with fluoride toothpaste
  • Dental sealantsDental sealants are a protective coating applied to chewing surfaces on teeth in the back of the mouth and prevent cavities in permanent molars by up to 81% for 2 years.
  • Limit frequent snacking and sugar intake.
  • Complete a dental visit within the first year

Baby teeth are at risk for tooth decay as soon as they appear, so it is important to make sure you schedule a dental visit for your child before age 1. The painful effects of tooth decay could lead to improper eating habits, impacting the child’s overall health and development.

How to Encourage Dental Hygiene in Your Children

It is beneficial to the emotional and physical development of a child when they learn why oral hygiene matters, then choose to take care of their teeth and gums “all by themselves.” We’ve all heard the phrase! What is better than seeing your child accomplish something and feel proud of themselves? Here are some tips to help children enjoy practicing good oral health:

  • Allow them to pick out their toothbrush.
  • Toothsavers Brushing Game by 2min2x
  • Initiate a bedtime routine with a checklist chart.
  • Take turns! After you help your child brush their teeth, let them to brush yours.

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

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