National Children’s Dental Health Month
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. It began as a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio, and a one-week event in Akron, Ohio in 1941. The observance has now developed into a nationwide program that is intended to bring together dentists, health care practitioners, and other educators in order to promote the benefits of good oral hygiene. It is important to teach children proper hygiene early in their lives because that is when lifelong habits are formed.
This year, National Children’s Dental Health Month, sponsored by the American Dental Association, has chosen ‘Choose tap water for a sparkling smile’ as their slogan. Tap water is easily accessible to most people in the United States and it does not contain sugar, while other beverages such as juice or sports drink do. Less sugar in children’s drinks means healthier teeth, and better health overall. A higher intake of sugar is linked to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension later in life.
One of the most common chronic conditions in childhood, especially in underserved populations, is tooth decay and cavities. Approximately 20% of children ages 5-11 will have at least one untreated, decayed tooth. About 13% of adolescents aged 12-19 will have one untreated cavity. Untreated cavities can lead to infection and pain, which can further lead to problems with speaking, playing, eating, and learning. It is important to teach children the best way to take care of their teeth, and their parents/caregivers should also be aware.
It is recommended that everyone brush their teeth at least twice a day, preferably after meals. This should last at least two minutes each time, using a soft-bristled toothbrush that is the proper size for the mouth. It is also recommended to floss between each of your teeth every day to keep your gums healthy. When flossing, take your time and be gentle. If using traditional floss is difficult, try using a pre-threaded flosser, dental pick, or water flosser. Your brush cannot reach every part of your mouth, and that is where floss comes in handy! Lastly, it is important that people of all ages see their dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups!
For more information, please visit: American Dental Association
By: Nicholas Thomas and Danielle Eisel, CapitalCare Medical Group PharmD Candidates 2017