Dental CareWhy good dental health is important
Studies and research have concluded on the importance of starting children early with good dental hygiene and oral care. It is recommended that children have their first dental examination by the age of 1.
According to research, the most common chronic childhood disease in America is tooth decay, affecting 50 percent of first-graders and 80 percent of 17-year-olds. Early treatment prevents problems affecting a child’s health, well-being, self-image and overall achievement.
It is estimated that children will miss 52 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems and about 12.5 million days of restricted activity every year from dental symptoms. Because there is such a significant loss in their academic performance, the Surgeon General has made children’s oral health a priority.
We encourage parents to take responsibility for ensuring their children practice good dental hygiene habits and maintain regular dental checkups. It is never too early to introduce proper oral care.
A good oral hygiene routine for children includes:
- Thoroughly cleaning your infant’s gums after each feeding with a water-soaked infant cloth. This stimulates the gum tissue and removes food and bacteria.
- Gently brushing your baby’s teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Teaching your child at age 2 or 3 about proper brushing techniques and continuing to help your child brush and floss until at least 8 years old.
- Regular visits with their pediatric dentist to check for cavities and possible developmental problems.
- Encouraging your child to discuss any fears they may have about oral health visits, but not mentioning words like “pain” or “hurt”, since this may instill these possibilities in their thought process.
- Determining if the water supply that serves your home is fluoridated; if not, discussing supplement options with your pediatric dentist.
- Asking your pediatric dentist about sealant applications to protect your child’s permanent teeth chewing surfaces.