Posted February 18, 2015
Growing up is filled with many challenging experiences for kids. From academics and athletics to relationships with family and friends, kids often are stressed and stretched in many directions. One thing they shouldn’t have to worry about is their oral health. But many experience dental pain every day. The good news is that dental problems are preventable.
Check out these six statistics from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:
- The root system from baby teeth helps lay the foundation for permanent teeth.
- Kids with damaged teeth from cavities may experience a lifetime of tooth and gum problems.
- Nearly six out of 10 kids in the United States have cavities, and about 25 percent have untreated decay in their permanent teeth.
- More than 80 percent of tooth decay in kids occurs on the chewing surfaces of teeth. Dental sealants can help protect these areas.
- Due to aching teeth and gums, kids can experience discomfort while eating, learning or sleeping.
- Nationally, kids lose more than 51 million school hours each year due to dental-related illness.
Practice dental health every day
Developing good oral health habits begins at a young age. Help the kids in your life follow these guidelines from the American Dental Association:
- First tooth, first year, first dental visit – The American Dental Association recommends a child’s first dental visit at age 1 or when the first tooth appears. Plan ongoing appointments for checkups and cleanings as directed by your dentist.
- Daily brushing and flossing – Kids should brush their teeth for at least two minutes after breakfast and before bedtime. Then floss at least once each day to remove food trapped between teeth and gums.
- Make it fun – Encourage kids to brush and floss daily by tracking and rewarding their efforts. Here’s a link to a fun toothbrushing chart to mark their progress. It may also help to let kids select a toothbrush and floss/floss picks in a fun design or color.
- Eat healthy – Kids should consume nutritious foods and drinks that are low in sugar. Avoid snacks and sweet drinks in the evening after your child has brushed and flossed.