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Form Oral Health Habits with Children

February 12, 2021.TruAssure.0 Likes.0 Comments

Form Oral Health Habits with Children

Establishing healthy dental habits early on can set your child up for better oral and overall health throughout their life. Protect your child’s smile by helping them practice preventive care.

Caring for Baby Teeth

Did you know that baby teeth need similar dental care as adult teeth? When baby teeth first appear between 6 and 12 months, that’s a sign to schedule a dental visit for your child. Tooth decay can occur as soon as baby teeth appear, so don’t delay in assisting your child with preventive care, including brushing their teeth twice a day. Simply follow the recommended practices and use a child-size toothbrush and pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Once your child can brush their teeth without assistance, continue to supervise their daily routine to make sure they follow proper brushing techniques.

While you aid your child’s oral health, keep an eye on other normal behaviors, such as teething and thumb sucking. If the behaviors continue past the age of three, it’s time to speak with your child’s dentist. They are a key player in your child’s oral health, so continue to take your child for routine checkups. The earlier children routinely see the dentist, the more familiar the experience becomes and the less likely they are to be anxious. Plus, children who regularly brush their teeth or have their gums wiped have shown to be more comfortable during dental visits.1

Tooth Decay and School-Age Children

Dental problems can develop early, including tooth decay. In fact, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases.

  • About 1 in 5 children aged 5 to 11 years old have at least one untreated decayed tooth.2
  • 1 in 7 adolescents aged 12 to 19 years old have at least one untreated decayed tooth.3

It’s important that you seek out necessary dental care, or your child could experience more serious problems with eating, speaking and learning.4 Unfortunately, children with poor oral health are nearly 3 times as likely to miss school due to dental pain.5 Diseased or poorly developed teeth can also develop factors beyond your child’s physical health, including poor self-image.6

Tooth Decay Prevention

Help your child prevent tooth decay by practicing preventive care daily. Follow these five healthy habits:

  • Brush teeth twice a day. Observe your child as they brush their teeth for a full two minutes using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Drink fluoridated water. Fluoride strengthens the tooth’s enamel and prevent cavities. Drinking plenty of water also decreases dry mouth and helps wash away food particles.
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks. Eating a nutritious diet not only limits sugar, it also helps supply necessary nutrients that keep teeth strong.
  • Schedule a dental visit every six months. Your child’s first dental visit should occur within six months of when their first tooth appears.  
  • Get dental sealants. In some cases, action may need to be taken to prevent further tooth decay. Speak with your child’s dentist to see if dental sealants are a good choice for them. Dental sealants can prevent more than 80% of cavities in permanent molars after two years.7

You can help your child build lifelong oral health habits that will protect their overall health. Foster a fun teaching moment during National Tooth Fairy Day, February 28.

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1 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002213.htm

2 Dye BA, Xianfen L, Beltrán-Aguilar ED. Selected Oral Health Indicators in the United States 2005–2008. NCHS Data Brief, no. 96. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012.

3 Dye BA, Xianfen L, Beltrán-Aguilar ED. Selected Oral Health Indicators in the United States 2005–2008. NCHS Data Brief, no. 96. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012.

4 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6541e1.htm?s_cid=mm6541e1_w

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222359/

6 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002213.htm

7 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6541e1.htm?s_cid=mm6541e1_w

 

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