The American Dental Association has designated February as National Children’s Dental Health Month in order to educate children and their caregivers about the importance of good oral health habits, but we know that teaching children how to properly care for their teeth is especially important so that they will carry those healthy habits into adulthood. Here are some of the reasons why good dental health habits are so important for children:
Your Oral Health Has an Impact on Your Overall Health
You may believe that having a healthy mouth is only about having a bright smile. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a link between the health of your teeth and gums and the health of the rest of your body, regardless of your age. Medical science has established a link between poor oral health and a variety of other problems that can arise later in life. Bacteria can enter your bloodstream through your gum tissue or enter your digestive tract or respiratory tract if you don’t keep your mouth clean. This can result in conditions such as:
- Cardiovascular Illness
- Complications during pregnancy and childbirth
While these conditions primarily affect adults, developing good oral health habits early in life reduces your chances of developing them as you get older.
Children and Poor Oral Health Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 20% of children aged 5-11 in the United States have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Approximately 13% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Untreated tooth decay can lead to gum disease and tooth loss in the future, as well as increase your chances of developing serious health problems as you age.
The good news is that tooth decay can be easily avoided by following a strict oral hygiene regimen. Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using mouthwash, and flossing once a day or after meals are all part of it. It also entails going to the dentist every six months. Children may be resistant to maintaining their oral health routine, but it is your responsibility as a caregiver to ensure they do so on a daily basis. Your child’s dentist is also a valuable resource in your efforts to instill healthy habits in your child. Fluoride treatments administered by your dentist can prevent approximately one-third of cavities in children, and dental sealants can prevent up to 80% of cavities for years.