February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!
In honor of National Children's Dental Health Month this February, we're sharing some of the important facts that earned this health issue its own month.
Did you know that cavities or tooth decay is one of the most common health issues affecting children in the U.S.? In some places, it has an even greater impact on children and their families than asthma.
Despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. Studies show that school-age children and youth in the U.S. miss 51 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems. These absences can mean losing critical learning time, especially in the early grades when foundational skills are being developed. What's more, students that experience oral health pain are 4x more likely to have lower GPAs than their peers that don't.
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. When oral health problems are treated and students are not experiencing pain, their learning and school attendance improve!
Prevention is key
Parents can help prevent cavities and promote good oral health by ensuring their children:
- Brush teeth at least 2x a day with a fluoride toothpaste. In addition, try to brush after meals.
- Clean between the teeth with dental floss-your hygienist or dentist will be happy to show you how.
- Avoid sugary foods including soda and juices.
- Get dental sealants as soon as permanent teeth grow in. 80% of the cavities children get are on the chewing surface of their teeth. Dental sealants help to protect against these cavities, but very few children have at least one sealed permanent tooth. Talk to your child's dentist to see if dental sealants are a good option for them.
- Fluoride has been proven to be the most effective way to prevent cavities. Unfortunately, many Americans do not get enough fluoride from their water especially in recent years where most people choose bottled water. Talk to your dentist about other ways to make sure your children are getting enough fluoride to protect their teeth.
- A child's 1st dentist visit should happen by the 1st birthday.
- Replace toothbrushes every 3 months. Allow the toothbrush to dry between uses.
- Visit the dentist every 6 months
The staff at Gargano Family Dentistry are happy to answer any questions concerning your child’s oral health. Give our office a call at 203-239-2356, or visit our website, www.garganofamilydentistry.com