February is Children’s Dental Health Month in Ephrata and throughout the United States. That makes it the perfect time to pause and reflect on the importance of oral health for kids. You should also consider whether you’re doing all you can to help your children maintain functional, pain-free teeth and gums. Let’s take a moment to discuss how we can all play a role in helping young ones have smiles that are both healthy and happy.
Get the Facts on Children’s Dental Health
Preventing dental issues starts with knowledge. Here are some fast facts about children’s oral health that might surprise you:
- Dental decay is five times more common in children than asthma.
- According to one estimate, nearly half of children ages 2 – 11 have untreatedtooth decay.
- Dental problems among children result in over 50 million lost hours of school each year.
- Over 80 percent of cavities occur on the chewing surfaces of teeth. Dental Sealants are able to prevent most of these cavities.
- Many children do not receive enough fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that plays an essential role in developing and fortifying teeth.
- Children in low-income households are twice as likely to develop cavities as those in higher-income households.
Put Your Knowledge to Work
Clearly, there is a national dental health crisis among children. It’s important that you do all you can to help the young ones in your family protect their teeth from the ravages of decay. You can also share what you learn with other parents so they too can encourage healthy smiles at home.
Here are a few tips to help you care for your children’s oral health:
- Schedule your child’s first dental visit before they turn one year old, around the time when their first tooth erupts. Thereafter, you should bring them to their children’s dentist in Ephrata every six months for a routine cleaning and checkup.
- Teach your children about healthy snacking. Kids love sugar, but sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay. Encourage your young ones to gravitate toward foods like raw produce, nuts, and cheese rather than candies and cookies.
- Make a family effort to improve your oral hygiene practices. You and your children can brush and floss at the same time so you can teach them proper techniques and make sure they’re doing a thorough job of cleaning their teeth.
- Don’t let financial concerns endanger your children’s oral health. Dental insurance is usually very affordable for kids.
- Have your kids drink tap water, which contains fluoride, rather than bottled water.
Helping your children to achieve and maintain sound oral health at a young age will set them up for a lifetime of strong smiles. Why not make an effort this month to step up your family’s dental health routine?
About the Author
Dr. Sean Moriarty is an experienced dentist in Ephrata who annually completes more than 100 hours of continuing education. He and the other two dentists at our practice are happy to work with patients of all ages, including young children. If you would like our team to help your kids enjoy healthier smiles, contact us at 717-723-8951.