National Dental Health Month

February is National Dental Health month.

    Here are some startling facts about dental health:

  • 44% of people worldwide have untreated tooth decay
  • Up to 90% of schoolchildren have tooth decay
  • 91% of Americans have had at least one cavity by their 21st birthday
  • Approximately 30% of seniors have no natural teeth

Teaching good habits at an early age and regular dental visits help children start on a path of healthy teeth, which they will continue on into adulthood.

A child’s first dental exam should happen before 12 months or 6 months after the first tooth emerges. “Baby” teeth are important to future oral health. They’re “placeholders” for permanent teeth and can impact development of these future teeth. Early visits to a dentist or pediatric dentist will help the patient get in the habit of brushing and flossing.

Illness may become apparent as mouth lesions or other oral problems. The Academy of General Dentistry reports that more than 90 percent of all system diseases produce oral symptoms. Many conditions like diabetes or AIDS, show first as mouth lesions. Think of your mouth as a window to the rest of your body. This is one of many reasons to practice great oral hygiene starting as young as 6 months old.

Pediatric dentists treat children from birth to college. Often, pediatric dentists will see patients with special needs past age 18, because the dentist knows the patient's dental history, special treatments, and procedure needs. All general dentists receive training from pediatric specialists in dental school. Some general dentists are more comfortable than others in treating small children and common childhood dental needs. Find a dentist you and your child are comfortable with and make it part of a healthy routine.

    Here are 6 good oral habits:

  • Always brush your teeth twice daily
  • Don’t neglect your tongue - Give it a brush, too
  • Floss at least once daily
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash daily
  • Visit your dentist regularly

And remember to lead by example. Your children need to know that you consider it a top priority. When they are small toddlers, it is a good idea to make brushing a routine you share together with them. Make sure to speak to your dental professional about which steps to take, so your mouth is clean and healthy, and ensure that they do a thorough check of your oral health each time you visit.


Back to Archive