February is known as the month dedicated to the heart; it is about love of all types, and it is also American Heart Month; but did you know it is also about teeth? Children’s teeth to be exact. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. It began February 8, 1949, as the American Dental Association’s Children’s Dental Health Day and became a month-long recognition in 1981. It continues to be a month-long celebration of children’s oral health awareness.
Is Your Child in the 51% Group?
Statistics show that just over 51% of children from 2-17 years old have regular annual dental checkups. Preventive care helps build a firm foundation for optimal oral health in later years. Over half the children under the age of eight years old have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth and 13% of American children have untreated cavities.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents get an early start on their child’s oral health. When the first tooth erupts, or at least by the first birthday, you should schedule a visit to the dentist. Why so early? There are several reasons.
- Acclimating your child to the dentist’s office – The experience in the dental office is full of new and interesting things and people. Young children are like sponges soaking up all that is new in life. Fear of the dentist develops out of bad experiences in the dental office, and/or when a person hears horror stories about the bad experiences of others. Starting early, your child will have the opportunity to develop his or her own opinion. Building a firm foundation for future oral health and dental care begins with pleasant and positive early encounters.
- Education on taking care of your child’s teeth – Believe it or not, some parents are not aware of the necessity for cleaning a baby’s teeth. As a parent, it is also important for you to learn how to manage your child’s oral hygiene as he or she grows. For a time, you will be primarily responsible for your child’s oral health. With proper guidance, your child will soon learn the proper mechanics of brushing and flossing for optimal oral health.
- Preventive care is important – Getting started early also means early prevention of common dental issues. Detection of problem areas, fluoride treatments and professional cleaning, placing sealants to prevent dental caries and establishing a baseline for your child’s oral health are all part of preventive care, which is more likely to provide your little one with a childhood free from dental pain.
Most adult Americans have lost a number of teeth by they time they reach their golden years. Some of this loss is through trauma, some through disease, some through neglect. You can better the odds for your child to make it through adulthood with a bright, healthy smile by attending to those little pearly whites now and establishing the habits that will reinforce optimal oral care practices. We are happy to help you in this endeavor at Les Belles. Call us today.