United Concordia Dental will recognize February as National Children's Dental Hygiene Month by offering tips about early cavity detection and prevention for infants to teens.
"Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood illness in America, five times more common than asthma," said Jerome Blum, D.D.S., corporate dental director.
"Untreated cavities in children can cause infection and pain and can result in gum disease and poor dental health that follows them into adulthood."
Begin childhood dental care at infancy:
Wipe your baby's gums with a damp cloth after feeding. To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, do not put the baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice or any sweet liquid. When his/her first tooth arrives, carefully brush it with an infant toothbrush and toothpaste and, schedule your baby's first dentist appointment, within six months.
Supervise toddlers when brushing:
It's often useful to check the toddler's mouth after brushing to make sure all food particles have been removed.
Talk to your dentist about sealants for children ages 6-12. Sealants are best applied when the first permanent molars erupt, around age 6, or when the second permanent molars erupt around age 12.
Encourage teens to carry toothbrush and toothpaste:
By the age of 13, most children are image-conscious enough to want to keep their teeth healthy and stain free. But on-the-go lifestyles can mean frequent snacking and less time at home. For this reason, encourage your teen to carry a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste, chew sugar-free gum and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Keep snacks healthy:
A healthy diet is a key to good dental health for children of all ages, so stock your kitchen with mouth-healthy snacks like cheese, fruits and veggies.
"The best tip for detection is to see a dentist and establish the risk for dental disease," said Dr. Blum.
"Then, follow through with dental checkups as suggested by your dentist. The dentist should do a risk assessment for both tooth decay and gum disease based on personal and family history."
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