During National Children’s Dental Health Month, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) in Miami is providing parents with simple tips children can follow for healthy oral hygiene.
Pediatric dental disease is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever, so promoting oral hygiene is vital to children’s health. Benefits of good oral hygiene extend beyond the family as well, as every dollar spent on oral health preventive measures saves American taxpayers up to $50 in restorative and emergency procedures for the under and uninsured.
“Dental care is the most prevalent unmet health need of children in the United States,” said Dr. Bahareh Jafarnia, a board certified pediatric dentist with Great Expressions Dental Centers. “In order to prevent potentially painful and expensive problems down the road, it’s critical that we work together to teach children how to care for their smiles.
“The good news is that there are many effortless things parents can do to prevent tooth decay and ensure their children grow up with healthy habits leading to proper dental hygiene as an adult.”
Following are some important tips to help your children maintain optimal dental health:
• Teach proper brushing and break bad habits. While your child is young, introduce healthy habits when it comes to their teeth. Teach brushing habits at 3 years old and break thumb-sucking and pacifier by age 4.
• Thumb, finger and pacifier habits. Children who continue these habits after the age of 2 can affect the way the child’s teeth bite together as well as growth of the jaw and bone. GEDC recommends parents talking to their children to get them to stop or have their pediatric dentists talk to them.
• First visit by first birthday. It’s best if children visit their dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This helps to establish preventative care and to avoid baby bottle tooth decay and nursing caries.
• Primary teeth (baby teeth). These teeth serve a number of critical functions, including being involved in speech development. So it’s important they’re properly taken care of.
• Limit snacking and eat healthy. Stray from sugary and starchy foods that destroy enamel and stick with drinking water, especially between meals.
• Regular visits with your dentist. Visit the dentist before your child’s first birthday to learn how to clean your child’s teeth and learn the dangers of bedtime bottles and sippy cups. By the time your child is 5, dentist visits should be happening every six months.
• Brush and floss daily. As soon as two teeth touch, it is important that children brush their teeth twice a day and floss.
• Orthodontic evaluation. Children grow quickly and orthodontists are trained to detect problems with the growth and development of the teeth and jaw. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends an orthodontic evaluation by 7 years old.
Pediatric dentists focus on oral health of young people, including infants, children and adolescents. They concentrate on implementing preventative dental health habits, early detection and treatment of dental diseases. To find a GEDC pediatric dentist near you, visit www.greatexpressions.com.
For more information about Great Expressions Dental Centers, go to www.greatexpressions.com.