In February every year, the American Dental Association sponsors a month-long activity that brings together professionals and healthcare providers. The primary goal of the activity is to promote the benefit of proper dental to children, their parents, caregivers, and teachers.
NCDHM theme this year is “Fluoride in water prevents cavities! Get it from the Taps!” and is geared to educate parents on the importance of fluoride in preventing dental decay in children. To support the event, the American Dental Association will provide not only the opportunity but also educational materials to help you educate your children.
We encourage you to participate in the event to help prevent cavities in children and here is why:
In honor of the NCDHM, we will offer dental checkups for children. Children need to have dental checkups at least every six months to monitor the progress, growth, and development of their jaw.
According to ADA, a child should see a dentist when the first tooth erupts or before their first birthday and biannually after that. Remember, children are prone to dental cavities, and protecting their teeth is paramount. If you haven’t taken your child for an assessment, take advantage of this month-long activity to have your child assessed for cavities. Fortunately, you will not need your dental insurance or pay for the assessment.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can strengthen the enamel as well as prevent dental cavities. You can get fluoride from tap water, foods, toothpaste, supplements, and mouth rinses.
Fluoride is vital for the development of a child’s teeth. Most of the foods we consume strip off the natural minerals from the enamel thereby weakening it and exposing it to decay and cavities.
Brushing using fluoride toothpaste will help to enamel to reabsorb the minerals as well as strengthen it.
The American Dental Association is promoting the consumption of tap water. Did you know that most of the taped water (about 75 percent) of tap water is fluoridated? Fluoridation is the addition of fluoride to treated water to increase its levels.
Will my child be at risk of fluorosis? Not quite. Fluorosis occurs when there is an overconsumption of fluoride and the enamel gets discolored. Although tap water will contain fluoride, the levels cannot cause fluorosis. Furthermore, we discourage the use of fluoride toothpaste for children under three years because chances are they will swallow it.
As aforementioned, children are prone to dental cavities. Although fluoride can help prevent it, it only plays a small part. Using fluoride without proper dental health will still cause dental decay. It’s difficult for children to notice plaques and may not know the importance of brushing, so educate them on what plaques are and why they need to remove them.
Apart from education, it is vital to get a professional cleaning. When you come for the regular dental checkup we will clean the teeth to remove any buildup. Professional dental exams and cleanings will keep decay at bay and prevent an extraction. Remember teeth extraction will warrant the use of cosmetic procedures such as dental implants.
Other dental prevention tips include:
Dental sealants. The Centers for Diseases Control recommends dental sealants for children when the permanent teeth start to erupt. The sealants will prevent decay and prevent premature loss of the teeth, so visit a dentist near you to get them.
Dental crowns work similarly to sealants, but instead of permanent teeth, the crowns are applied to primary ones.
Proper nutrition is also vital to a child’s dental health. Avoid the consumption of sugar that feeds the bacteria. Furthermore, don’t allow the baby to sleep or nap with a bottle in their mouth.
Dental decay in children can not only weaken the teeth but will also affect the dental structure. Arming yourself with the right information will go a long way in teaching your children proper dental health. Don’t miss this year’s National Children Dental Health Month as we will discuss in length about dental cavities and how to prevent them.