Parents listen up! February is National Children’s Dental Health Month – a month that contributes to raising awareness on the importance of children’s oral hygiene. There are many reasons to solely focus on a young child’s oral health, and you would be surprised by some of those reasons. Read below for more information on why it is so important and ways you can prevent permanent damage.
Diseases and conditions that children face
One of the most common chronic conditions that affect children in the United States is the decaying of teeth. Tooth decay happens when germs in the mouth create a sticky covering called plaque on the tooth surface. These germs feed on sugars in food and drinks and produce an acid that damages the tooth surface. Over time, this acid eats away at the surface of the tooth, creating holes or ‘cavities.
Tooth decay can cause pain and infection, it can even affect children’s growth in more ways than one. Some serious consequences that result from severe decay in baby teeth are:
- An impact on your child’s nutrition
- Change in speech
- Affected jaw development
Oral damage can be prevented at an early age
Although these are conditions raised for concern, there are ways in which they can be prevented early on. Taking a soft cloth or even an infant toothbrush to wipe the baby’s gums twice a day will aid in the prevention of bacteria, as well as train their teeth for future brushes and cleaning.
Visiting a dentist frequently
Surprisingly enough, by the time those tiny little teeth start to show (around the first birthday) is when it is imperative to start bringing your child to the dentist. Beginning this process will ensure your child is up to date with teeth cleans as well as making sure nothing is moving in a negative direction. Pediatric dentistry is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association and it’s important to find a dentist who specializes in children’s dental care. Basically the earlier you get your child to the dentist, the better. It will only benefit them in the long run.
Know your enemy
Yes, candy is the main enemy in any dental case. However, I bet you didn’t know that it isn’t the only reason for the pain/erosion in your child’s teeth. There are snacks like cookies, bread and crackers that are loaded with starch and quickly turn to sugar. The main reason these snacks affect children so bad is because they are easily able to wedge themselves in between those young and vulnerable teeth. A true recipe for disaster!