Excellent oral hygiene that help contribute to great overall health is a gift that we can give to ourselves, but it begins in the home and at a very young age. Following are some of the most important children’s dental health issues that are common today. These dental health concerns can be used to initiate a plan for better oral health in the home.
Asthma – The Most Common Disease in Children
The prevalence of asthma, type 2 diabetes and obesity in children get a fairly large amount of attention, but it is often overlooked that the number one health condition in children is tooth decay, according to the Academy of American Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
Tooth decay is twenty times more common than diabetes and five times as common as asthma, it stands to reason this aspect of your child’s health deserves special attention.
Many Cavities Go Untreated
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19% of children and adolescents from the ages of 2 to 19 present early symptoms of tooth decay and 42% of children from ages 2 to 11 had caries on their baby teeth. It is when tooth decay is in these early stages that it can be addressed and damage to the teeth prevented.
Sports and the Increased Risks of Dental Injury
Watching kids compete in peewee competitions is a favorite parental activity, but studies have shown that children who regularly participate in sports are at a higher risk of dental problems. 10% to 39 % of all childhood dental injuries, especially chipped and lost teeth, are caused by sports.
It is important to make sure your little Olympians have their teeth protected with proper sports gear, especially using a mouthguard if possible. If your child were to sustain an injury to the mouth or teeth, it would be a good idea to take them to the dentist to assess the damage.
Your child may need an OTC (over the counter) pain reliever to help minimize pain on the way to treatment. Try to recover any fragments of the broken tooth; if a tooth has been knocked-out, don’t handle it too much, put in water or milk and bring it to the dentist. It could be reattached with a process of ‘reimplantation’.
Dental Conditions Can Lead to Educational Issues
Dental health can only be postponed for so long before the effects begin to get out of hand, one of the effects is time taken to address oral conditions that naturally develop after prolonged neglect. According to the Center for Health and Healthcare for Schools, over 51 million school hours are lost due to dental illness.
Regular dental check-ups and semi-annual visits usually take minimal time, the majority of lost school hours are for more time consuming procedures like cavity filling. One way to avoid this is with regular checkups scheduled for vacations, more serious work can be adjusted to fit school schedules.
Preventing Damage and Decay in Children’s Teeth
A hankering for healthy teeth is best started young in the formative years of early home life. Children should be taught to rinse their mouths well after eating and even use a straw when drinking sugary beverages to avoid contact with teeth.
Supervised brushing is essential as well. A rule of thumb for this is if a child is old enough to dress themselves, including tying up a shoe, then they are old enough to brush teeth on their own. Children should also be introduced to the best flossing practices as well, supervision for this can continue till the age of ten.
Finally, visiting your dental health professional regularly is the best way to catch any and all dental health conditions before they have a chance to flourish into a bigger problem. Be sure to follow directions from the dentist carefully and go to them with any concerns you may have about your child’s dental health.