Dental care is the most prevalent unmet health need of children in the United States. Because of this, tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood in the U.S. The good news is that it’s entirely preventable. As National Children’s Dental Health Month kicks off, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) in Georgia is providing parents with simple ways to lead their children to good, healthy oral hygiene.
“By having parents model and teach children to care for their smiles, they can prevent potential painful and expensive problems,” said Dr. Lyda Harandi of Great Expressions Dental Centers. “Start by educating your child on the importance of proper oral hygiene at a young age to help them develop healthy lifelong habits.”
Following are some important tips to help your children maintain optimal dental health:
· Teach proper brushing and break bad habits. While your child is young, it is key to introduce healthy habits when it comes to their teeth. At 3 years old, begin teaching them how to brush their teeth using only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Try to break thumb-sucking and pacifier habits by age 4.
· Set a good example. Children are known to mimic, so make sure you are setting a good example of good dental hygiene by letting your children see you brush and floss daily. Turn it into something special you do together by brushing to your favorite song or creating a tooth brushing dance.
· Limit snacking and eat healthy. Bacteria are created by the acid in sugary and starchy foods that slowly destroys teeth enamel. Every time those foods are consumed an acid bath starts, which lasts 15 minutes. Give your mouth a break in between meals, which includes not sipping on milk or juice. Stick with water.
· Regular visits with your dentist. The first visit to the dentist should happen before a child’s first birthday so that parents can learn how to go about cleaning your child’s teeth and to ward off the dangers from bedtime bottles and sippy cups that contain milk or juice. Healthy gums lead to healthy teeth. By the time your child is 5, dentist visits should be happening every 6 months.
Brush and floss
As soon as two teeth touch, it is important that children brush their teeth
twice a day and floss. Brushing two to three times a day and flossing one time
a day is critical to remove the bacteria that causes bad breath, gingivitis and
· Orthodontic evaluation. Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth. Children grow quickly and orthodontists are trained to detect problems with the growth and development of the teeth and jaw. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends an orthodontic evaluation by seven years old.
About Great Expressions
For nearly 40 years, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) has been a leader in preventative dental care, orthodontics and specialty care with local offices in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia. One of the largest privately owned dental service organizations in the United States, GEDC is consistently recognized for contributions to improving oral health through quality and safety initiatives, affordable dental care services, patient convenience, research and more. For more information, go to www.greatexpressions.com.