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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 2nd, 2017

According to the Center for Disease Control, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. They go on to report that 20% of children age 5-11 and that 13% of adolescents age 12-19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.  This is one reason the American Dental Association focuses on children’s dental health each February.

Left untreated, tooth decay may lead to pain, low self-esteem, difficulty socializing and sleeping, impact speech and eating, as well as affect overall health.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s office reports that an estimated 51 million school hours were lost annually due to dental-related illness. Similarly, a study of school children in North Carolina published in the American Journal of Public Health found that "children with poor oral health status were nearly 3 times more likely ... than were their counterparts to miss school as a result of dental pain."

The answer lies in education for children, teachers and their caregivers, and access to quality dental care providers.

TIPS FOR DENTAL HEALTH
Here are some things parents and caregivers can do to ensure children’s dental health:

  • Teach children to brush at least two times each day to remove food from their teeth and prevent bacteria that cause decay.
  • Limit sugary drinks and snacks that can cause decay. Water is best since it creates an environment bacteria don’t like.
  • Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride by using a fluoride toothpaste. If your drinking water is not fluoridated, ask your dentist if your child needs a fluoride varnish or fluoride supplements
  • Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants to protect teeth from decay
  • Have your child visit a dentist for a first checkup by age 1, and then regularly as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

RESOURCES FOR YOUR CHILDREN
The ADA provides fun educational activities for children to help parents, caregivers and teachers teach the importance of good dental health. Download these for your kids!

Make it a habit! Use this calendar to keep track of brushing

Choose tap water coloring page

On the Go! Learn why Buck and Flossy choose tap water and healthy snacks, and follow the 2 Minutes 2 Times” rule for brushing.

What to choose? This fun activity page helps kids determine choices for good oral hygiene.

For more information on National Children’s Health Month, visit http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month. To have a Dental Hygienist visit your school to talk about good dental hygiene, contact us!

Protecting Your Baby’s Smiles

September 27th, 2016

Did you know that your baby’s teeth begin developing during the fifth week of pregnancy? That means, making good choices early in pregnancy and throughout their little lives can protect your baby’s smile.

While You Are Pregnant
This is a time to focus on eating a balanced diet with enough calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins A and D. For calcium rich foods, choose milk, yogurt and cheese, along with leafy greens and fruit.  Those leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, will also provide your vitamin A. Other sources include carrots and sweet potatoes. Nuts and seeds, meats, poultry and fish are great sources for phosphorous. Meats and fish also provide vitamin D. The side benefit of eating to benefit your baby’s teeth is that your teeth will be stronger too!

During Infancy
Using a warm, wet washcloth (no toothpaste yet) is a great way to keep baby’s gums healthy while waiting for those first teeth to emerge. The cloth will dislodge bacteria and stimulate gums.

Ages 2 to 6
Baby teeth begin appearing between 6 and 12 months of age and most children will have all baby teeth erupted by age 2-3. Begin teaching dental hygiene by using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush with a pea-size amount of toothpaste twice a day.

Research shows that children who develop cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities as an adult so this is also a good time to visit your dentist for regular cleanings. Begin early so that your little one becomes comfortable with the setting.

Ages 6 to 12
By age six, your little one may begin losing baby teeth so that permanent teeth can come in. This is a great time to visit your dentist to ensure teeth are aligned properly. Thumb sucking, tongue thrusting or crowding which can cause poorly aligned teeth, or misaligned jaws, can lead to poor eating habits and health issues. Your dentist will quickly identify issues and refer you to an orthodontist, if necessary.

From the moment your little one is a flutter in your tummy, taking care of his or her teeth is important. For more information on dental care for your baby, speak to your dentist. If you need a referral to a dentist, call us!