Tooth decay is the top chronic childhood illness; it is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Tooth decay and dental disease can cause pain which leads to missed school days, poor school performance, can cause problems with eating and getting the proper nutrition to grow into a healthy adult, and can even effect speech and sleep. Elementary school children with poor oral health on average miss six school days per year while high school aged children miss 2.6 days. The great news is dental disease is PREVENTABLE!
Here are 4 tips to keep you and your kiddos on track:
1: LIMIT SUGAR INTAKE
- Skip the juice boxes or soda-these are filled with sugar (and acid). Bacteria thrives in the mouth in all this sugar! Water is the healthiest option
2. CHEESE PLEASE
- Cheese has been shown to reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.
- It stimulates saliva which saves teeth from acid attacks from other foods.
3. MAKE A ROUTINE OUT OF BRUSHING AND FLOSSING
- Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for a full 2 minutes and flossing once per day is the best way to prevent oral health problems.
- Supervision and positive reinforcement is very important, make it fun!
- Children will emulate what their parents do, so lead by example, showing them that proper brushing and flossing leads to good oral health, and that is good for them!
- Use “Tell-show-do” to explain to them using fun words like “cavity bugs”
4. MAKE TIME FOR REGULAR DENTAL VISITS
- Regular dental visits can prevent problems before the become severe and affect overall health.
- Dental hygienists clean teeth professionally, but can also tell how well your child is brushing and flossing
- Dental x-rays can detect cavities not seen by the naked eye, and are a great preventive measure
- Most dental insurance companies cover 2 full dental preventative visits per year!
Source: Dental publication-summarized the article written by Kara Vavrosky, RDH