ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The CDC says that 42 percent of children, ages two to 11, have had cavities in their baby teeth, and 21 percent of children, ages six to 11, have had them in their permanent teeth. So, what can parents do to prevent cavities and promote a healthy smile for their little ones? Dental care
Working … prepping meals … homework … playtime. Parents are busy! Add in managing your kid’s dental care and the life of a parent gets more hectic. But there are ways to make dental care easier on your kids and you. First start with the right toothbrush.
“The industry has done a great job in developing, like, fun-colored toothbrushes, different types of flossers that are more kid friendly,” shared Jacqueline Moroco, DDS, MS, CEO of Moroco Orthodontics.
Brushing is the most important method of cavity prevention, but it can be tricky to find the right toothbrush for your child with so many different options available. A good place to start is by looking for a toothbrush with soft, polished bristles.
Also, visit the dentist regularly. According to the CDC, children who start seeing the dentist by age five have dental costs that are 40 percent lower over a five-year period.
Dr. Moroco told Ivanhoe, “The relationship with the dentist is really important; parents finding the right fit for their child, you know, not every office is created equally.”
Some other tips for parents to encourage good dental care for their kids: brush your teeth together, set a timer for two minutes so your kids know how long they need to brush, have your child practice brushing teeth on a doll or stuffed animal and create a rewards system. Add a sticker for every day they brush their teeth without complaining. When they reach a certain number of stickers, they could get a toy or a trip to the zoo.
The biggest mistake some parents make is letting their child brush their teeth alone. Since most children don’t have the motor skills to brush effectively until they’re eight years old, parents need to supervise brushing and check to make sure every surface of each tooth is clean.
Contributors to this news report include: Adahlia Thomas, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
KIDS AND DENTAL CARE:
TIPS FOR PARENTS
BACKGROUND: Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth clean and is the best means of prevention of cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and other dental disorders. It also helps prevent bad breath. It is necessary to help maintain the health of a person’s teeth and mouth. Healthy gums will be pink and firm. Oral hygiene consists of both personal and professional care. Dental X-rays are often performed as part of routine professional examinations. Regular cleaning by the dentist is important to remove plaque that may develop even with brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling, tooth polishing, and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. Most dentists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned every six months.
CHILDREN’S ORAL HEALTH: Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. If left untreated, they cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. More than half of children aged six to eight have had a cavity in at least one of their baby teeth. More than half of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have had a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth. And children aged five to 19 from low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households. However, cavities are preventable. Fluoride varnish can prevent about one-third of cavities in baby teeth. Similarly, children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste will have fewer cavities. Dental sealants can also prevent cavities for many years. Applying dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth prevent 80 percent of cavities.
IMPROVING ORAL HEALTH: The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is working to improve oral health literacy and prevent oral disease in children in nearby communities with the greatest need. Dental students at UIC will rotate in several community health centers and schools to deliver dental care and education for pre-school aged kids and their parents. As part of their training, they provide dietary and nutritional guidance for parents and advice on oral disease prevention for their children. The program places emphasis on serving undeserved, rural, and special needs populations that are the most vulnerable to oral disease. “This program is intended to give students experience in treating this age group, and it also is in this group that we can begin to dissect the risk factors that lead to early childhood cavities,” explained Caswell Evans, DDS, MPH, Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This initiative will also focus on expecting parents in the prenatal program at UI Health. The goal is to encourage them to consider oral health as part of their baby’s overall health.
* For More Information, Contact:
Jacqueline Moroco, DDS, MS
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