What You Should Know About Children’s Oral Health

Kid’s Oral Health Education Starts in The Home

A lot of children get cavities, or what is known also as caries or tooth decay. In fact, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the US. When cavities go untreated, children experience toothache leading to other infections. The experience interrupts their eating, speaking, including playing and learning. Compared to kids with better oral health, they are the ones who often miss school, are less attentive or participative in class, and get lower grades.

Let’s look at some statistics. About 1 of 5 children aged 5-11 years and 1 of 7 adolescents aged 12-19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth each. About one-fourth of children aged 5-19 years from low-income families are twice as likely (25%) to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households (11%).

However, cavities are preventable. There are many ways children can prevent or delay cavities on their teeth. Notable are: application of fluoride varnish that can prevent 33% of cavities in the primary teeth; application of dental sealants that prevents 80% of cavities; drinking community fluoridated tap water that can lead to fewer cavities; brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.
For babies, parents, guardians, and caregivers can (a) wipe gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed to wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities, (b) start brushing twice a day with a soft, small‑bristled toothbrush and plain water when teeth start to erupt, (c) visit the dentist by your baby’s first birthday to spot early problems, and (d) see about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth by your dentist as soon as the first tooth appears.

For children, no longer babies, parents, guardians, and caregivers can (a) teach kids how to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, (b) encourage drinking tap water with fluoride, and (c) ask your child’s dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate.

Other tips: Teach the child younger than 6 years to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow. Check out your community water supply if it is fluoridated, and if not, ask your dentist or family doctor if your child needs oral fluoride supplements (drops, tablets, or lozenges).


Child’s Dentist Appointments at Overlake Dental in Bellevue

Learn more about your children’s oral health status by regular dentist visits. While dental health education starts in the home, it’s always best to seek professional assistance.