This post is sponsored by Caffaratti Dental Group in Sparks.
Did you know the most common chronic disease in children is tooth decay? In fact, tooth decay is four times more common than childhood obesity and five times more common than asthma. Although tooth decay in entirely preventable, a recent national survey by the American Ad Council found that 75 percent of parents admit their kids forget to brush frequently.
The survey also reports that kids miss more than 51 million school hours every year due to dental-related illness. Parents said their children’s oral health was a low priority, compared to things like nutrition, flu season and school safety. But parents may not realize oral health has a direct correlation to overall health, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Before teeth even erupt, use a warm washcloth to regularly wipe down your child’s gums, getting them familiar with the idea of brushing. When your baby’s teeth first appear, brush with a soft brush and fluoride-free toothpaste. Going to bed with a bottle, being nursed to sleep and excessive juice consumption are some of the major contributors to tooth decay. When it comes to juice, stick to 100 percent fruit juice, keep consumption only to mealtimes and dilute it 1 part juice to 10 parts water.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child visit the dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts, or by age 1. At age 2, start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth. Fluoride is the best defense against tooth decay and can even repair tiny areas of decay before they become cavities. If your water isn’t fluoridated, your dentist can prescribe it in a gel, mouthwash or tablet.
Assist your child in brushing his or her teeth until ages 6 to 8. A brushing chart is a great tool to remind your child to brush twice a day, for two minutes at a time.
Even when kids brush and floss carefully, they are susceptible to decay in their hard-to-reach molars. Dental sealants are a thin plastic film that forms an impenetrable barrier on the surface of the teeth and provide an extra layer of protection. The teeth most at risk for decay, and most in need of dental sealants, are the 6-year and 12-year molars.
If your child plays contact sports, your dentist can custom-fit a mouth guard, or you can purchase one at a sporting goods store. If a permanent tooth chips or breaks, fast action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. If a permanent tooth falls out, immediately take the child (and the tooth, if you can find it), to the dentist.
Did you know your teenager shouldn’t have their teeth whitened before age 14? The tooth’s pulp isn’t fully formed until age 14, which means they can experience a lot of tooth sensitivity. Even after age 14, discuss whitening with a dentist, to ensure your teen won’t experience sensitivity or damage existing dental work.
Make your kids’ oral health a priority
Two minutes, twice a day is all it takes! A beautiful smile will give your child confidence, and a healthy mouth can keep your child from experiencing the pain and difficulty of related illnesses and complications. Caffaratti Dental Group would love to help your whole family achieve brighter smiles – give us a call today at 775-358-1555.