Healthy oral health habits for strong smiles begin at an early age. These early experiences help develop good habits and trust and can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth. National Children’s Dental Health Month, celebrated in February since 1949, strives to raise awareness of just how important early and regular dental care is, and your dentist in Portland is happy to help.
The Importance of Awareness
We talk a lot about how important it is to see your dentist in Portland at least twice a year, and this is true for both kids and adults. However, the truth is, starting these appointments as soon as a kid’s first tooth erupts is incredibly important. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all children should have their first dental visit by that time or no later than their first birthday. Seeing a dentist early can help kids in a variety of ways.
- Catch Cavities
Dental decay, also known as cavities, is one of the most common diseases in kids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50% of kids between six and eight have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth and another 50% of kids between twelve and nineteen have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. Cavities can often be detected in their early stages at dental appointments and can be treated quickly and easily. However, if not treated, cavities can cause pain and lead to other serious dental problems as well as missed school.
- Keep Baby Teeth Healthy
It’s a milestone to lose your first tooth, and seeing a child smile with a few gaps in their grin is one of the cutest things. But baby teeth need to be kept healthy until permanent teeth are ready to erupt, and dental appointments as well as good dental care can help. Baby teeth help kids develop proper speech, eat a complete and nutritious diet, and hold spaces for adult teeth. If they’re lost too early, speech and diet can be affected as well as oral health.
Celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month
The American Dental Association (ADA), who sponsors the month-long event every year, makes it easy for parents, caregivers, family members, educators, and healthcare professionals to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month by providing free resources, such as:
- Coloring Sheets
- Crossword Puzzles
- Word Search Puzzles
Head over the ADA website to download and access these resources.
If you’re a parent, the best thing you can do to help your child’s oral health is to practice what you preach. Brush your teeth twice a day with them and show them how to floss. Make it a fun family event. And always remember to see your dentist in Portland at least twice a year for checkups.