National Children’s Dental Health Month is meant to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and here at Hatcher Orthodontics we want to help your children develop a happy, healthy smile!
Despite the fact that it is entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. More than 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth. Research also shows that if a child’s tooth decay goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, speech problems and even loss of self-esteem. Good oral hygiene practices such as thorough brushing with fluoride toothpaste and regular dental visits can help keep children from getting cavities. Just as your growing child has their “well baby checkup” with their pediatrician they should follow the same practice for their teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, and no later than the child’s first birthday. These early dental visits increase the child’s comfort level with the dentist and makes future visits easier.
Parents and children are encouraged to brush their teeth for two minutes, two times per day. But how do you get kids to brush their teeth? Try the Tell, Show, Do model:
- Tell: In age-appropriate language, explain how to brush and floss and how those actions keep teeth clean and healthy.
- Show: Let children watch when mom or dad brush and floss their own teeth.
- Do: Help children brush and floss their teeth in the morning and before bed, and keep a regular routine so they know it’s expected. Continue helping to brush a child’s teeth until they’re age 4 or 5. After that, let them do it themselves, but supervise them until age 7 or 8.
Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to provide information and materials to reach millions of people in communities across the country. Be sure to check out their Mouth Healthy Kids website to view fun videos, games and quizzes.