National Children’s Dental Health Month: Ways to Protect Your Children’s Teeth
This February is National Children’s Dental Health Month according to the American Dental Association. This month-long national health month brings together dental professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the importance of dental health in children. Here at Dr. Ania’s we prioritize dental health in children and want to teach you how you can best protect your children’s dental health.
Common Dental Health Issues for Children
Even if dental issues don’t run throughout your family, your child can still be at risk for oral health issues without proper dental care. In children, cavities are one of the most common, preventable, chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. The CDC explains that untreated cavities can cause pain and infection, which can then cause further issues with eating, speaking, playing, and even learning. In fact, children who have poor oral health often miss more school and have lower grades than children who don’t. The CDC lists of the following stats:
- About 1 of 5 (20%) chidden from the ages of 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
- 1 out of 7 (13%) of adolescents from the ages of 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
The good news, however, is that cavities can be prevented, specifically through the use of fluoride. Fluoride varnish can help prevent about one-third of cavities in the primary teeth. Additionally, if you live in a community that has fluoridated tap water, your child is less likely to have cavities than those who don’t live in an area with fluoride added to the tap water. If your child needs additional protection from cavities, dental sealants can help prevent cavities for years, preventing up to 80% of cavities.
What Parents Can Do For Children’s Dental Health
If you’re a new parent, it can be confusing to know what all you are supposed to do, especially when it comes to your child’s dental health. However, Dr. Ania is here to walk you through whatever your concerns are to make sure you are confident in caring for your child’s smile.
As a parent, you know you don’t want your child to get a cavity, but you might not know what exactly you need to do to help prevent them from happening. KidsHealth from Nemours offers an easy list to explain what you can do while your child is young to protect their smile:
- Even before your baby gets their first tooth, run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clean off any potential bacteria.
- When your baby gets teeth, brush them with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). The ADA recommends using a fluoride toothpaste that carries their seal of acceptance. Regardless of the type of toothpaste you are using, keep it to the same amount because you still want to minimize any toothpaste that is swallowed.
- Begin flossing your child’s teeth when they have two baby teeth that touch.
- When your child turns two, help them learn to spit while brushing. Avoid giving your child water to swish and spit because this can make swallowing toothpaste more likely.
- At the age of three, your child should begin using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, preferably with fluoride.
- Be sure to always supervise kids younger than 8 while brushing, as they’re likely to swallow toothpaste which can be dangerous.
Babies are at risk like children and teens are for getting tooth decay. To prevent this, Nemours recommends, do not put your baby to sleep with a bottle as it can cause baby bottle tooth decay. When this happens, their teeth can become discolored, decayed, and might need to be pulled early, which can affect their smile well into adulthood.
Overall, to protect your child’s teeth, make sure that you are teaching them good dental hygiene habits from a young age, making sure they get an adequate amount of fluoride to protect their enamel, and limit their access to sugary and acidic foods.
Make an Appointment with Dr. Ania
We are as passionate as you are about making sure your child has a healthy smile from the time they are born until you are sending them off to college and beyond. Our caring team is here to walk with you through every step of life to make sure that we are preventing and caring for oral health issues before they develop into more serious concerns. If you believe your child is ready for an appointment, there is no better time than National Children’s Dental Health month to make one! Call us today for your appointment at (303)-872-9940.