As a parent, you do everything you can to protect your child’s health. Feeding them balanced meals, getting them outside to exercise, and teaching the importance of daily hygiene all make a huge difference in their oral development. But did you know that oral health is just as important to practice? Dentists are celebrating Children’s Dental Health Month this February to help parents make sure they know the facts and best habits to keep when it comes to their child’s oral health.
Fast Facts on Children’s Dental Health
Many people don’t realize how much poor oral health can affect their child’s overall health, which is why it’s worth knowing key information on oral health statistics in the United States before going over the best practices to prevent dental disease.
- Many cavities end up going untreated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC reports estimate that about 42 percent of children aged 2 to 11 years have untreated cavities.
- Tooth decay can negatively affect academic performance, not just their oral and overall health. According to The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, 51 million school hours are lost annually due to dental-related issues.
- An overwhelming majority of cavities children develop occur on the chewing surfaces of teeth, totaling about 80 percent. Only 18.5 percent of children have at least one sealed permanent tooth.
- Don’t avoid fluoride at a young age. Despite being widely accessible in public drinking water, nearly 100 million Americans do not get enough fluoride in their diet.
Best Practices for At-Home Care
With these facts in mind, we’ll now go over exactly what habits you need to teach your child to ensure long-term oral health.
- Wipe your child’s gums with a soft clean cloth in the morning after feeding and right before bed. This works to wipe away bacteria and sugar, which can lead to cavity development. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and plain water to brush their teeth
- Once teeth have erupted, start brushing their teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste.
- Make sure to use a soft-bristled tooth brush to ensure optimal comfort.
- Use a smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice between two and three years of age. Increase that amount to a pea-sized dab after the age of three. This will be the new standard going forward.
Why Routine Dental Visits Matter
Parents should bring their child to their first dental visit by their first birthday. You should also bring them in within six months of their first baby tooth erupting in order to ensure that it’s coming in correctly and not developing any cavities. By bringing them in early, you help them get used to their new dental home and ensure no problems have the chance to develop later.
Routine visits and preventive care can make all the difference in the world for your child’s oral health. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a children’s dentist in Bixby today!
About the Author
After earning his dental degree, Dr. Parnam Mohanna went on to expand his education to a variety of dental topics. Today, he works hard to help parents protect their child’s oral health and perform treatments proven to aid them in their at-home care. To learn more about his practice, you can contact him through his website.