February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Dental hygienists, assistants and dentists will be traveling all over the country to raise awareness about oral hygiene. They will be going to over 100 schools and visiting 10,000 children and providing care to children whose parents cannot afford.
Important Facts to Know About National Children’s Dental Health
Tooth Decay is Prevalent Among Children
Half of children will have tooth decay before they are 5-years-old. There are 5 times as many children with tooth decay as there is with asthma. Tooth decay is also 7 times more common than allergies.
Most Children Are Not Spending Enough Time Brushing
There was a survey taken that involved 300 parents. Seven out of 10 parents believed that their children were able to brush their teeth independently by the age of 5. However, most children are not brushing their teeth long enough. Sixty percent of children do not spend at least two minutes brushing, which is what the American Dental Association recommends.
Regular brushing is one of the keys to preventing tooth decay. If your children are not brushing their teeth long enough, then they will not reap the full benefits of brushing. It is a good idea to supervise your children while they brush until they are 7 or 8 years-old.
Not Caring for Teeth can be Expensive
Good oral care habits keep children’s teeth healthy. Seventy-five percent of parents surveyed stated that they spent less than $500 per year on their children’s dental work. Approximately 9 percent of parents spent between $500 to $1,500 per year on their children’s dental care. Additionally, 1.3 percent of parents spent over $1,500 per year on their children’s dental care.
The American Dental Hygienists Association has also pointed out the financial benefits that can be reaped from caring for your children’s teeth. The organization stated that spending $1 on preventative care can help save $8 to $50 on emergency dental treatments and restorative dental work.
Poor Oral Hygiene can Lead to Missed School Days
The Office of the Surgeon General has stated that children miss 51 hours of school per year due to dental conditions. The best way to prevent your children from missing school days due to oral hygiene is follow the 2, 2, 2 rule. Your children will need to brush and floss twice a day for two minutes. You can start flossing your children’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth beside each other.
It is important for you to set good oral care habits for your children. If you practice good oral hygiene habits, then they will likely want to do the same.
Oral Problems can Lead to More Serious Health Problems
Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease. Children who have gum disease may have problems eating. They may also have trouble paying attention in school. Additionally, gum disease can lead to other health problems. The mouth is full of bacteria. Good oral hygiene and the immune system can help keep the bacteria under control. However, if bacteria is not removed with brushing and flossing, it can end up in other areas of the body.
Gum Disease can be Contagious
You should never let your children share toothbrushes or eating utensils. Gum disease can be transmitted from person to person if bacteria is on the eating utensils and toothbrushes.
Income and Education Affect Oral Health
Studies have shown that half of untreated tooth decay cases are in children who are in a low-income family. Low-income families often do not have dental insurance. That is why they are more likely to delay getting dental care. Even if a person does have dental insurance, they may still have to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs.
Studies have also shown that oral health is linked to grades. Children who have chronic toothaches are 4 times more likely to have a grade point average that is below 2.8. Chronic tooth pain can make it hard for people to study and pay attention in class.
Children Should See the Dentist Every Six Months
Children should start seeing a dentist once they turn 1. After that, they will need to see the dentist every six months. Your children will get a thorough cleaning and examination during their visit. The earlier children start seeing the dentist, the easier will be for them to get adjusted to the environment.