January is National Children’s Dental Health Month! This month is, at least partially, dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of maintaining dental health through pregnancy, attending to the dental health of young children and instilling within them a respect for the importance of dental health. The Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services is offering to provide free oral health materials to any dentist who is hosting activities promoting National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Common Dental Health Issues In Young Children
Because of the nature of children’s teeth, they are at risk for certain dental health issues more than others. As a parent, knowing this can help you identify the symptoms of a problem early on and treat it before it becomes any more serious of an issue.
The enamel on children’s teeth isn’t as strong as the enamel they’ll have on their teeth as adults. This makes children much more susceptible to tooth decay. Foods and drinks that contain sugar (many of which are marketed towards children) can be converted to acid in our mouths which then in turn attacks enamel. While saliva and water work to neutralize this acid, too many sugary drinks or foods can make it harder for them to do so. For this reason, children are particularly susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. If your community’s water supply doesn’t provide fluoride you should consider incorporating a fluoride rinse or toothpaste into your child’s dental hygiene routine to help prevent these issues. You should also monitor the amount of sugar your child intakes. As always, making sure that they brush twice and floss once a day can also help prevent cavities.
Citrusy fruit drinks and sodas with carbonation also contain high levels of acid. Sour candies, the ones kids seem to love most, and other tart treats do as well. All of this acid can lead to enamel erosion which can cause painfully sensitive teeth. Acid erosion can be prevented by diluting fruit drinks and saving fizzy drinks as a special treat. The majority of what your child drinks should always be water. You might think it makes sense to rush your kids to brush their teeth immediately after having one of these acidic treats. In reality the enamel is most sensitive during this time and you could actually be grinding sugar and acid right into it. Instead encourage your kids to rinse with water after having something acidic.
Poor dental hygiene habits, like skipping brushing before bed or flossing once a week, can lead to gum disease. Because children are just learning how to maintain their dental hygiene they are apt to forget or do a poor job. Gum disease occurs when small pockets form in the gums that trap and hold bacteria and food particles close to the bottom of the teeth. Gum disease progresses quickly and can lead to all sorts of much more serious complications. If your child’s gums bleed when brushing or appear red and irritated you should have them checked by a dentist.
Remember most importantly, your child must see a dentist regularly! Call Dr. D’Alfonso of Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today and schedule an appointment.