Did you know that
dental caries, or cavities, is the most common chronic disease found in
children? It is five times as common as asthma and seven times as
common as hay fever. In Maryland, 32.6 percent of kindergarteners and
29.7 percent of third graders have tooth decay, according to the
2005-2006 Maryland Oral Health School Survey. If tooth decay remains
untreated, it can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems
with eating, speaking, playing and learning.
To highlight this
important issue, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.
The American Dental Association (ADA) held the first national Children’s
Dental Health Day in 1949. In 1981, this was extended to the month-long
celebration known today as National Children’s Dental Health Month in
order to promote good oral health care habits.
With good habits,
tooth decay can be prevented. Taking care of children’s teeth –
including baby teeth – from the very start helps children develop
lifelong healthy habits. It is important for parents to teach their
children good oral (dental) health care habits, including proper
brushing with fluoridated toothpaste (the amount of toothpaste you place
on the toothbrush depends on your child’s age), flossing techniques,
eating nutritious foods and regular visits to the dentist. Steps such as
these will help ensure that children will have a healthy mouth, as well
as a healthy body.
supervise brushing until children are seven to eight years old. Children
learn good oral health care habits from their parents, so it is
important to be a good role model.
Other important oral health tips include:
For more information visit: http://fha.dhmh.maryland.gov/oralhealth/SitePages/Home.aspx or www.healthyteethhealthykids.org
- Brush for two minutes, twice a day
- Visit the dentist by child’s first birthday or when the first tooth appears
- Clean baby’s gums before teeth come in using a soft cloth
- Give children milk or water instead of sugary drinks
- Ask your dentist about fluoride treatments and dental sealants
is bad for your health, including your oral health. Smoking during
pregnancy can impact the health of your unborn child. Call the Quitline
for tips on how to quit, 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.quitnow.net/maryland.