While brushing your teeth at least twice a day, concentrating on brushing after every meal, flossing daily and visiting the dentist every six months should be common knowledge, there are still many misconceptions about dental health that both children and adults aren’t aware of.
There are many children in American that face dental problems each year. More than a quarter of American children between the ages of 2 and 5, and half of children between 12 and 15 years old are affected by tooth decay, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC study also showed that children from lower-income families are even more at risk, with half of all children and two-thirds of adolescents aged 12 to 19 having had tooth decay.
In five states with the largest income gaps – Florida, Texas, Arizona, Mississippi and Nevada – 43 percent of children in lower-income families had toothaches, decayed teeth, cavities, or bleeding gums, according to a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund. Tooth decay affects more children in the U.S. than any other chronic infectious disease. Left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking and learning.
To avoid potential problems with your children’s teeth, getting them off to a great start with their dental health is imperative. With October being National Dental Hygiene Month, here are four dental tips from Kool Smiles to help your kids’ smiles stay healthy.
When the first baby tooth breaks through, you should be using infant toothpaste and a tooth brush to clean the tooth. It’s also recommended that before teeth even pop through, you should clean the gums with a damp cloth, gauze or even a clean finger. Once two teeth erupt through the gums touching each other, that’s when the flossing should begin. This is especially important with molars, which are typically closer together than front teeth.
Find a dentist
As soon as your child turns 1 year old or their first tooth erupts, you should be seeking out a dentist. If you aren’t sure where to start, Kool Smiles may have a location near you. They are a leading dental health provider dedicated to expanding access to quality dental care for children and families in underserved communities. Learn more at www.mykoolsmiles.com.
Even the baby teeth are important
Many of your children’s primary teeth – also more commonly known as baby teeth – may be in their mouths until they get to around 12 years old, so ignoring issues until they get old enough to have permanent teeth can lead to long term pain and discomfort. Losing primary teeth early could lead to a higher risk of requiring orthodontic treatment.
Lead by example
Brushing your teeth with your children watching you is a great way to start a healthy habit and show them the proper way to brush. Encourage your child, when old enough, to pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Brushing timers and calendars are a fun way to make sure your family has a healthy routine. That will lead to easier dental visits for both you and your children.
By making regular dentist visits – for you and your children – you can help to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles for the whole family.