Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s a great time to learn why childhood oral health is so important and how you can prevent problems from an early age. Some of the statistics about dental health in children are concerning, but the good news is that there are easy ways to protect your child’s smile from the start. In this blog, you’ll learn about the importance of regular care from a children’s dentist in Ft. Worth and also get tips for establishing good oral hygiene at home. It’s information that every parent should know!
The Facts About Childhood Oral Health
- The CDC states that around 42% of children ages 2-11 have untreated cavities. It’s important to catch cavities when they’re small because they can be treated with simple fillings. If they go untreated for too long and become bigger, they often require more extensive procedures such as dental crowns and root canals.
- Countless studies have shown fluoride to be one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities, but around 100 million Americans aren’t getting effective levels of fluoride in their drinking water.
- Over 80% of the cavities children get are on the chewing surfaces of their back teeth. These surfaces have tiny, microscopic pits and grooves that can’t be adequately cleaned (even with good brushing habits), but sealants can protect these areas.
- The Center For Health and Healthcare In Schools found that approximately 51 school hours are lost each year due to dental-related issues.
How Can You Keep Your Child’s Smile Healthy?
Despite the sobering statistics about childhood cavities, the good news is that they’re completely preventable – with regular checkups from a children’s dentist and good oral hygiene at home.
Here are some ways to prevent tooth decay in your child:
- Schedule regular checkups to make sure that any cavities or other problems are detected and treated when they’re as small as possible. You’ll also get individualized tips for brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, as well as recommendations for which products to use.
- Talk with your dentist about the fluoridated water in your area to make sure it’s adequate. If not, they can prescribe a fluoride supplement so the teeth that haven’t come in yet develop as strong as possible. In addition, a dentist can apply topical fluoride treatments to strengthen the teeth that have already come in to prevent tooth decay.
- Ask about sealants, which prevent 80% of childhood cavities. These thin, durable coatings on the back teeth prevent the pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces from collecting cavity-causing bacteria.
- Limit both the amount of sugar and frequency with which your child consumes it. Sipping or snacking on sweet things like juice, soda, dried fruit or candy throughout the day dramatically increases the risk of cavities. Remember the phrase, “Sip all day, get decay.”
Although cavities in kids are quite common, you can prevent them by following these few simple guidelines. You’ll not only be helping your child have a healthy smile now, but in the future as well!
About the Author
Dr. Shweta Sinha is a general and children’s dentist in Ft. Worth and also a mother of two. In addition to providing outstanding dental care for kids, she helps parents understand the best way to prevent problems from the start so they can minimize the amount of dental work their children need. If you have any other questions about children’s dental health in Ft. Worth, she can be contacted via her website.