National Children’s Dental Health Month – Care for their Pearly Whites
Dental professionals nationwide recognize the National Children’s Dental Health month. Dentists observe this month in particular to increase awareness and promote healthy dental habits. Although largely preventable, Dental Caries (tooth decay) continues to be the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults.
National Children’s Dental Health Month is a month-long health observance that brings together dental professionals, health care providers, and others to raise awareness about the importance of good oral health in children.
A leading chronic health issue for children in the U.S.
Did you know that cavities or tooth decay is one of the most common health issues affecting children in the U.S.? In some places, it has an even greater impact on children and their families than asthma. Oral health issues, such as cavities, can include:
- Persistent pain
- Dental abscesses or Infections
- Inability to chew foods well and Decreased appetite
- Depression and Attention issues
The impact on learning
It’s no wonder that children and youth experiencing oral health issues are more likely to miss school and have poor academic performance than their peers. Studies show that school-age children and youth in the U.S. miss 51 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems. These absences can mean losing critical learning time, especially in the early grades when foundational skills are being developed. What’s more, students that experience oral health pain are 4x more likely to have lower GPAs than their peers that don’t.
Prevention is key
The good news is that when oral health problems are treated and students are not experiencing pain, their learning and school attendance improve! Parents can help prevent cavities and promote good oral health by ensuring their children:
- Brush their teeth after meals
- Eat sweets after a meal vs. as a snack
- Get dental sealants as soon as their permanent teeth grow in
- Drink tap water – Boston has some of the best in the country
By the numbers: Tips for healthy teeth
Here are some more tips for good oral health:
- A child’s 1st dentist visit should happen by the 1st birthday
- Brush teeth at least 2x a day
- Replace toothbrushes every 3 months