February Is For Kids
Did you know that February is National Children’s Dental Health Month? It all began as a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio on February 3rd, 1941, with the first national observance of Children’s Dental Health Day on February 8th, 1949. Now, more than 75 years later, every February, the message of the importance of oral health goes out to millions of children and adults in communities across the country. This celebration includes events such as health fairs, dental office tours, and visits to the classroom by dentists, assistants, and hygienists.
One of the reasons for this special annual event is that many people are still unaware of how important early dental care is to the overall health of our children. At Battle Creek Family Dentistry, we strongly recommend that parents or caregivers take action early to ensure the health of their children’s teeth and gums. Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life.
First Dental Visit
The American Dental Association recommends that we see your child within six months of the eruption of their first tooth, and certainly no later than your child’s first birthday. These initial visits allow us to detect problems in their early stages and to identify high-risk habits or behaviors like thumb sucking. Of course, the simplicity of preventive care such as cleanings, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants also provide your child with “smile insurance” for a lifetime! Fluoride is so critical that the American Association of Pediatrics, along with some state legislatures, has begun to require physicians to provide fluoride varnish treatments every 3 – 6 months after the teeth have emerged if a child is not receiving regular dental care.
These early visits are not just for the children, though! You’ll also benefit because your dental health directly affects the dental health of your child. We can discuss some simple strategies that you can use so that your children are not prone to the dental problems you had or are currently experiencing. That’s right – if you have increased levels of the bacteria that cause tooth decay, you can pass them on to your children. Plus, children learn by modeling the behavior of their parents and caregivers – if they see you regularly attending to your oral health, they will too.
Here are some instant tips to help you support your kids’ oral health, right through to adulthood…
- Zero to two: Baby teeth arrive at around six to eight months. Do not permit your child to fall asleep with a bottle. Milk, formula, and juice all contain the sugar that feeds bacteria and causes decay.
- Two to five: Full set of baby teeth arrives. Regular dental appointments should become the norm.
- Five to nine: Permanent teeth arrive. Regular visits to our office should continue.
- Nine to nineteen: Orthodontic work, cavity prevention, and dental hygiene habits are a high priority.
Tooth Decay is a Common Disease
Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and create acids that “eat” tooth enamel, making cavities. Tooth decay can start as soon as your baby’s first teeth come in, and it’s one of the most common chronic diseases of children aged 6-11. Tooth decay is four times more common than asthma in teens.
What can you do to prevent it? Avoid sugary drinks, including fruit juices and help your kids get into a regular tooth brushing routine twice per day. It’s never too early to get them on the right path.
If you wish any further information on any aspect of your child’s dental and oral health, please call us. We’d be happy to help in any way we can!
Yours in excellent dental health,
Dr. David Long, Battle Creek Family Dentistry