National Children’s Dental Health Month is meant to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Why is this type of celebration—and year-round attention to children’s dental health–important?
Despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. More than 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than two-thirds of 16- to 19-year-olds have had a cavity in their permanent teeth. Although overall rates of tooth decay have decreased over the past four decades, decay has actually increased in preschool age children in recent years.
The good news is there are safe and effective preventive measures that can protect teeth. Good oral hygiene practices such as thorough brushing with a fluoride toothpaste can help keep children from getting cavities. In addition, dental sealants and community water fluoridation are two other strategies that can help prevent tooth decay.
For more information about children’s dental health, how to prevent tooth decay, and related research funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), please see the NIH MedlinePlus Magazine feature on Children’s Dental Health.
Remember the basics…
The rule of 2 -Brush 2 times a day for 2 minutes ~ every surface of every tooth – we want to be smart brushers, not hard brushers
Flossing is not hard and is co important. They now have fun easy ways for kids to learn flossing, using the cute flossers etc.
Parents your kids are not able to brush on their own until they are able to tie their own shoes – parents should get in there at least once a day.
Having healthy snacks available each day for children will help with oral health, as well as, overall health. Ex: bananas, carrot slices, cheese sticks etc. Offer a healthy choice BEFORE you offer crackers or sweets. Sugary foods and acid foods separate and together can increase risk for decay.
Reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. And students who are absent miss critical instruction time—especially in early grades where reading skills are an important focus and the building blocks of future learning. And students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.
That’s why NEA’s Read Across America and its sponsor, Renaissance Dental, are celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of good oral health. Parents and childrens are encouraged to brush their teeth for two minutes, two times per day, and read for 20 minutes as a way of building good oral health and literacy habits.