Health Care and Dental Health Month

- February 05, 2014
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February is Dental Health Month, and it should be celebrated by brushing, flossing, and a trip to the dentist for your semi-annual checkup. Not exciting? Well, just because you aren’t going to be eating cake and blowing out candles in the dental chair doesn’t mean you can’t feel great about good oral hygiene and a beautiful smile. Besides, you can go out for a good time later after you get your teeth cleaned and have them whitened with a really good professional teeth whitening system. Just remember to brush before you go to bed. And, your children need even more protection from poor dental health.  

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), each February, the ADA sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. NCDHM messages and materials have reached millions of people in communities across the country. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Whether you're a member of the dental team, a teacher or a parent, the ADA has free online resources that can help you with oral health presentations, ideas for the classroom and coloring and activity sheets that can be used as handouts. Much more info can be found at this site: .

Despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. More than 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than two-thirds of 16- to 19-year-olds have had a cavity in their permanent teeth. Although overall rates of tooth decay have decreased over the past four decades, decay has actually increased in preschool age children in recent years.

According to the NIDCR, the good news is there are safe and effective preventive measures that can protect teeth. Good oral hygiene practices such as thorough brushing with a fluoride toothpaste can help keep children from getting cavities. In addition, dental sealants and community water fluoridation are two other strategies that can help prevent tooth decay. More material about this can be found at this site: .

Pediatric dental visits earlier in life increase the child’s comfort level with the dentist and make future visits easier, according to InsuranceNewsNet online. To best help a child learn good habits of dental care, here are a few ways for children to develop a healthy dental routine.

• Do not put a child to bed with a bottle of juice or milk. Letting children go to sleep in the crib with a bottle can cause tooth decay.
• Establish brushing routines early. Use a rubber fingertip to clean babies’ teeth. As teeth develop, they can begin brushing, but a parent should go in afterwards and go over it again to ensure they are doing it correctly. cbg recommends supervising until they are approximately 9-years-old.
• Limit snacks to no more than three times per day. Avoid sticky snacks like fruit roll-ups and gummy bears.
• Schedule a child’s first dental visit as early as 6 months, even if there is only one tooth.
More information can be found at this site: .

Here are some facts about dental issues with children that are very concerning, according to the Chicago Dental Society:
§  Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness in children.
§  51 million school hours are lost each year to dental problems.
§  Research shows that if a child’s tooth decay goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, speech problems and even loss of self-esteem.
According to the Academy for General Dentistry, a visit to the dentist doesn't just benefit the child. Parents can pick up tips about properly caring for their child's teeth. Talk to your dentist to learn how to soothe teething irritations, stop prolonged pacifier- and finger-sucking, modify your child's diet to reduce cavity-causing sugars, and more. This month of February is especially dedicated to the oral health of children. Pediatrics and family dentists are thoroughly making efforts to reduce problems of dental health in kids. More information can be found here:

If you or your family have not been to the dentist yet, use this opportunity to schedule a checkup for your good dental health. Plus, take your kids if they haven’t been yet. A great smile is priceless.

Until next time.
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