The most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S. today is tooth decay, yet it is almost completely preventable. In fact, surveys have shown that parents believe their children’s dental health is a low priority compared to other issues like school safety and nutrition, regardless of the rates of oral disease. In fact, childhood rates are actually rising, and by age 5, approximately 60% of children will have had at least one cavity.
Poor dental health can negatively impact children’s quality of life by affecting eating patterns, their sleep habits, self-esteem, and participation in social or community activities, Additionally, when children lose their teeth prematurely due to decay, it can have a poor effect on their speech development and articulation. Baby teeth also act as space keepers for adult teeth, providing guidance to the tooth’s health and positioning. Lost teeth can mean lost space and cause the grown-up teeth to come in crowded or crooked, ultimately costing money, time and discomfort in orthodontic work.
Therefore, in 2012, National Brush Day was launched to be observed on November 1st each year to highlight the importance of toothbrushing every day, twice a day for two minutes. It’s no coincidence that National Brush Day was created for observance on the day after Halloween, a day in which many children partake in the sweet treats that are offered.
The day was designed to open a dialogue between parents or caregivers and children with an opportunity to understand the importance of good dental health, tips to improve it, and to reinforce good oral health habits. Many families participate and show their support for the effort on social media platforms, posting brushing selfies and the hashtag #NatlBrushDay. Other opportunities to participate include sweepstakes and twitter chats.
The key to prevention of tooth decay in children is to start a healthy dental routine as early as possible by brushing gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a children’s toothpaste with fluoride twice daily for 2 minutes every day once a child gets his first tooth. The goal is to remove the sticky film called plaque that contains millions of bacteria. To reach the spaces between teeth, flossing is also necessary. This should begin as soon as a child has two teeth that touch each other. In addition, regular cleanings and checkups with a dentist can help identify issues before they become worse problems.
If would like more information about improving your children’s dental health and the prevention of tooth decay, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule an appointment for your children, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.