In celebration of Children’s Dental Health Month, we gathered a few simple tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Did you know that cavities or tooth decay is one of the most common health issues affecting children in the U.S.?
Studies show that school-age children and youth in the U.S. miss 51 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems.
These absences can mean losing critical learning time, especially in the early grades when foundational skills are being developed. What’s more, students that experience oral health pain are 4x more likely to have lower GPAs than their peers that don’t.
Fortunately, tooth decay and gum disease are almost entirely preventable. Here are a few tips parents and caregivers can use to improve children’s oral health.
- Pregnant women should visit the dentist and practice good oral hygiene. A mom’s oral health has a direct impact on her baby’s oral health.
- Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.
- Start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they appear.
- To prevent baby bottle decay, never put your child to bed with a bottle of juice or milk.
- Schedule the first dental visit for your child by age 3. Age 1 if you have any concerns.
- Check to see if your water is fluoridated. If not, talk to your dentist or pediatrician about fluoride options.
- Help your toddler brush twice daily with a small drop of fluoride toothpaste (size of a rice grain for age 0-3 and the size of a pea age 3-5) and floss at least once daily.
- Encourage your child to eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of water and avoid sugary snacks and juice.
- Talk to your dentist about fluoride varnish and dental sealants to prevent the incidence of tooth decay.
- Have dental sealants as soon as their permanent teeth grow in.
- Talk to your teenager about not smoking or using any other tobacco product.
To find out more about the importance of good oral health and the direct link between oral health and your child’s overall health and well-being, please visit these resources or call Oakton Family Dentistry today to set up a free consultation (703) 281-6201:
American Academy of Pediatrics – HealthyChildren.org
American Dental Association – MouthHealthy
Center for Disease Control – Children’s Oral Health
Additional educational resources for children:
NIH – Children’s Dental Health Month
NEA – Children’s Dental Health Month
Source: Action for Dental Health: Bringing Disease Prevention into Communities. A Statement from the American Dental Association. December 2013.
Oakton Family Dentistry provides quality dental care for all ages for Oakton, Vienna, Fairfax, Chantilly, Tysons and all surrounding Northern Virginia areas. To make an appointment, call 703-281-6201 or visit our “Request Appointment” page.