Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.
Dental check-ups for kids are one of many aspects of people’s lives that have been interrupted during the ongoing covid pandemic. However, experts warn that instilling good dental hygiene habits early is still critical in helping ensure long-lasting oral health for your child.
“Children who experience tooth decay are more likely to miss school, have lower academic success, experience nutritional and speech development issues…and over time, become more susceptible to systemic inflammation, which may limit growth and development,” explained Abbie Goudarzi, DDS, a licensed dentist and Delta Dental consultant. “It can also result in an increased risk for lifelong dental problems.”
Goudarzi added that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children over six years old.
But the good news is…there are safe and effective preventive measures that can protect teeth in children.
Nevertheless, for a lot of parents, getting kids to brush and floss their teeth is like…well, like pulling teeth. But if you want to protect your kids from having their teeth actually pulled at some point in their lives, you’ve got to show them the ins and outs of proper dental health.
Managing children’s oral health in a pandemic can be tough, but if you are able and comfortable, a visit to your dental provider can help. Most dental plans cover children starting at birth. (A child should see a dentist by the eruption of the first tooth or at one year of age.) In addition, there are plenty of ways to maintain proper oral health at home.
Perhaps one of the benefits of spending more time at home during the pandemic is the ease of access for kids to brush their teeth after each meal, thus reducing bacteria and helping protect their enamel from damage.
Make it a bonding activity–after each meal, brush your teeth with your children or send them with their siblings to help establish the habit.
Watching you floss your teeth is one of the best ways for kids to learn how to floss their own. If done correctly, flossing is incredibly important to oral health, which is why it’s imperative to establish its importance for children at a young age.
Distance learning has many students visiting their pantry at home as often as they would their locker in school. Make it easier for your children to make healthy choices by stocking the pantry with healthy options such as prepped fruits and veggies, granola or roasted chickpeas.
This will have a positive effect not only on their oral health, but also their overall health.