Nothing is more important to parents than the health and well-being of their children. Every mom and dad will do everything they can to ensure that their kids are safe, happy, and on their way to a bright future. When it comes to their kids’ oral health, the things parents do today to instill healthy habits and involve dental professionals in their care can have a lifetime of benefits.
A Major Public Health Problem
With all of the dangers and potential problems that kids can face, it can be easy to overlook the importance of dental care and oral health. That is a huge mistake which ignores what has become a huge health problem for American kids. Tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues are alarmingly high among America’s youth. Consider these troubling facts:
- Tooth decay has been recognized by the Surgeon General as the most common chronic childhood disease, according to statistics shared in the Oral Health in America report.
- According to the Nation Institutes of Health, about 42% of children ages 2-11 exhibit signs of tooth decay. Of those children, it’s estimated that 23% have a condition that is not being treated.
- Tooth decay about five times more common in young children than asthma. Compared to hay fever, tooth decay is about seven times more common.
- The Surgeon General report estimates that 51 million hours of school are lost each year to illness related to oral health issues.
These statistics illustrates the need for preventative care in not only preserving healthy teeth and gums for life, but also in keeping children present and engaged during a critical period for social and academic development.
The need for parents to pay attention to their kids’ oral health begins well before they are able to stand on a stepstool in front of their sink to learn how to properly brush their teeth. Cavities can actually start long before teeth are developed in young infants. According to a study conducted at the University of Illinois, the gums might serve as a reservoir in which oral bacteria can grow, months before an infant begins teething. This sets the stage for decay as the teeth develop and eventually emerge.
What Parents Can Do
Dr. Ted Herrmann of Assure A Smile encourages South Florida families to be proactive in oral health care by focusing on daily brushing, flossing, healthy diets, and regular dental checkups. The American Dental Association’s “Mouth Healthy Kids” website has several wonderful tips that can help parents encourage positive oral hygiene habits.
For Miami moms and dads with new infants, he recommends following the following tips from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:
- Parents: Keep your own mouths and saliva free of cavity-causing bacteria by eating healthy foods, brushing regularly, and flossing.
- Routinely wipe the mouth and gums of your infant with a soft, warm, and moist washcloth.
- When teeth first start to become visible, gently brush each tooth with a soft bristle toothbrush to keep them clean.
- Brushing should occur at least twice daily, once in the morning and once at night.
- Create bedtime routines that soothe your child but do not include feeding.
Dr. Herrmann also recommends regular dental checkups for children every 6 months, starting at age one. At Assure a Smile, we make a visit to the dentist as pleasant and comfortable as possible for kids so that they grow up thinking of a dental appointment as positive and healthy rather than something to be dreaded and avoided. Our holistic dentistry approach views kids’ oral health as a vital component of their overall health. We see ourselves as partners with parents, sharing a passionate belief in doing everything we can to keep them happy and healthy.
Holistic Miami Pediatric Dentistry at Assure a Smile
Assure A Smile welcomes current parents as well as soon-to-be-parents to contact us to start learning about oral hygiene and the bacteria that causes decay and disease. Our practice is committed to only the highest levels of service, and we believe that educated patients are empowered to create lifelong healthy teeth and gums.
Miami parents may request an appointment online or speak directly with our front desk at 305-274-0047.
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