February is not only the month where we celebrate Valentine’s Day; but, it is National Children’s Dental Health Month. What better way to celebrate than by being your child’s very own Valentine this February and showing them how much you love them by sharing the importance of oral health. The goal of Children’s Dental Health Month, sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA), is to educate our children about the importance of their oral health and to raise awareness on the importance of their dental health and oral hygiene to avoid gum disease and other dental issues.
Your child’s future smile relies on how attentive you are at an early age. As a month of dental awareness, NOW is the great time to re-evaluate your child’s oral self-care and hygiene habits. If you’ve been slacking on the commitment of improving your dental hygiene, this celebration is a reminder to get back into the swing of things and commit to brushing, flossing, mouth rinsing etc for the rest of your life.
Starting a good oral care routine at an early age is the best way of preventing childhood periodontal disease so that you do not run into any issues in the future. Here are some tips to celebrate this month setting an example for your children and helping them maintain optimal dental health.
- Brush your teeth daily with your kids at least for 2 minutes 2 times in a day
- When the gaps in teeth are closed, it is important to start Flossing with brushing
- Show them how to FLOSS to clean between your teeth
- Choose healthy food items to eat with them and limit sugary snacks and drinks between meals
- Schedule routine visits to your dentist for family check-ups and good dental hygiene habits
- Serve as a good role model by practicing good oral care and hygiene habits
- Continue to regulate your child’s oral hygiene by detecting any signs of dental disease such as bad breath, bleeding gums, swollen or red gums, receding gums, etc.
National Children’s Dental Health Month, schools may make these lessons fun by coming to the classes dressed up in tooth characters like the tooth fairy or the teachers may engage with children in show-and-tell activity about brushing and flossing. But remember to keep it fun and educational at home as well.
There are many games and activities available online where you can work with them the importance of dental and gum disease awareness. These fun activities may include:
- Dental crossword puzzles
- Dental coloring sheet
- Maze activity sheet
- Word search games
- Calendar for healthy habit (such as giving up thumb sucking or pacifier use)
Dental awareness month revolves around educating future generations all about taking care of their teeth and mouth giving them the tools to fight any dental disease so that they have healthy teeth for the rest of their life.
To have a good physical overall health of your child, it is important to take care of their oral health because your child’s oral health affects his/her overall health. Everything going inside is getting through the mouth between the teeth and gums and any dental disease is transferred to the other organs with the bloodstream and food.
Such as an untreated tooth decay may lead to a gum disease and cause inflammation which can travel through the bloodstream to reach arteries in the heart causing atherosclerosis — aka “hardening of the arteries.” Believe it or not a few cavities can “snow ball” into heart problems.
A poor oral health can also complicate diabetics making it harder to control blood sugar level. Respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia can also be caused by a bad breath over a prolonged period of time resulting from bacteria presence or tooth decay or gum disease.
A serious risk to your child’s overall physical health could be the damage to its mental health caused by ignoring cavities. Bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through nerve channels or the bloodstream and cause Dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease in severe cases. It may sound far-fetched for your 7 years old, but learning the importance of taking care of teeth and gums is just as important as any other childhood’s interest.
If you haven’t sparked up the conversation or activity with your kid, it’s never too late. Start it now. Just know that primary teeth are just as important as permanent teeth and when they’re exposed to plaque build-up or bacteria due to inadequate brushing or flossing, they are caught with cavities sooner than adult teeth. You can get your child in for an annual dental check up with orthodontic experts as the regular checkups combined with good oral hygiene reduces the odds and severity of tooth decay and ensures strong and healthy teeth. And healthy teeth eventually ensure an overall good physical health.