Since it is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it is a great time to talk about what you are doing, or not doing, to take care of your child’s teeth. Young children and toddlers are just as susceptible to tooth decay as an older child, yet they require an extra set of hands to get their teeth-cleaning job done. Therefore, when we discuss a child’s oral health, the parents are the ones in the hot seat. As parents, you have a big job to do to make sure your child’s teeth get brushed and flossed daily and that you make (and keep) those routine dental appointments. Gilreath Family Dentistry specializes in preventative dentistry, which includes sealants and fluoride treatments for children.
Understanding the staggering statistics of tooth decay in children can help parents make oral health a priority in their household. Tooth decay, although largely preventable, exists as one of the most common chronic diseases of children ages 6 to 11. In fact, tooth decay is 5 times more common than asthma, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. If parents were as diligent as they are in taking care of their asthmatic child, as they are their child’s teeth, tooth decay statistics would likely not show the current reality that more than 40% of kids have decay before they reach Kindergarten. Fortunately, today there are many ways to not only encourage children to brush but to educate them as well. Many parents use music or creative apps to help children brush the recommended 2 minutes, 2 times a day (which can seem like an eternity to a child without a fun distraction). If your child cannot tie their shoe or begin to write in cursive, then it is likely that parents will need to do the flossing job. As a parent, be ready to step in to help and take the necessary time to ensure oral health habits are well established at a young age.
We know bedtime routines and morning routines can be a challenging and rushed part of the day. However, by refusing to skip or slack on teeth brushing in your house, you will save your family lots of time, pain and money from tooth decay or other dental health problems in the future.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,