Showing posts with label National Children's Dental Health Month. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Children's Dental Health Month. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Take a Bite Out of Dental Decay This Month

February is National Children's Dental Health Month – a good time to educate your children about the importance of oral health. The American Dental Association (ADA) wants to help you do this!  They provide a wealth of educational materials and tips to support good dental hygiene in America: to get the word out that developing good habits at an early age is the best way to get children on the path to lifelong healthy teeth and gums.

Five ways to encourage dental health at home

You can put a dent in dental decay at your school or in your home with these tips and materials designed to educate and encourage kids regarding good dental health.

Tip #1 – get the Super-Smile poster

Download, print, and display these posters in places your kids can’t miss them, like the bathroom mirror or on the fridge. 
Get the large 11"x17" Tabloid Sized poster:

Download Children's Poster  Download Teen Poster

You can get both of these posters in a standard 8”x12” letter size as well:

Tip #2 – Do activities geared toward great teeth and gums

ADA offers a wealth of games, puzzles, coloring sheets and more, each designed to get your kids excited and more knowledgeable about dental health. The links below include English and Spanish language versions.

Tip #3 – Reveal those missed spots!

One of the most powerful ways to identify insufficient tooth brushing or improper technique is to use a simple food coloring technique to shed light on otherwise invisible plaque. You’ll need some red food color, water, a mirror – preferably the kind that magnifies – a new toothbrush, and toothpaste.
To make the magic happen, add three or four drops of the food color into a few tablespoons of water in a paper cup. Have your child swish the colored water around in his or her mouth for about ten seconds and then spit it out into the sink. Ask your child to use the magnifying mirror to study their teeth and gums; the red food coloring makes the areas with plaque show up as bright red!
The education continues when your child brushes afterward with toothpaste and a new toothbrush.  If they miss any spots, they’ll know right away, as the red coloring highlights the missed sections.  Have your child brush again until they’ve successfully removed most of the red food coloring. 
Your child will likely never brush the same way again.

Tip #4 – Do a fun science experiment on tooth decay

To demo tooth decay effectively, you can use an apple with a hole in it.
First, make a one-inch deep hole in an apple. Put it in a paper bag and set it aside for about three days.  Take a knife and cut through the apple through where you made the hole. Show your children the decay that formed around the hole. This is a good way to demonstrate shows how decay can also spread through a tooth.
Explain that good oral hygiene, including brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily is important to stop tooth decay from spreading.

More ways to promote dental health at home

Try all of the above tips and you'll have your kids on the road to a healthy smile in no time.  As well, visit the ADA's "For Kids" section, where you can play student-focused dental games and animations.  Also check with a local dentist; many of them have public speaking events during National Children's Dental Health Month that you could attend.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Monday, February 25, 2013

National Children's Dental Health Month

Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors the National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. This year’s campaign, “Get A Gold Medal Smile,” aims to help parents give their children a healthy mouth for a lifetime.

The key to getting and maintaining “A Gold Medal Smile” begins from the moment baby teeth begin appearing in your child’s mouth, which can be as early as six months of age. Parents should start by wiping baby teeth with a soft cloth, or lightly brushing with an extra soft toothbrush after feedings. When putting your child to bed, be sure you only fill their bottles or sippy cups with water. Juices and milk contain sugars and acids that are harmful to a child’s teeth and can cause tooth decay.

Plaque is an invisible film containing many different types of bacteria and it is continually forming in the mouth. Some of these bacteria are helpful to the mouth. However, others can cause tooth decay. The bad bacteria feed on the sugars and sweets found in the snacks that your child eats, and then produces acid that causes decay if it is left on their teeth.

Toothbrushes are used to keep teeth healthy

As your child gets older, it is important to brush their teeth twice a day for a minimum of two minutes. It is also crucial to floss their teeth at least once daily. You should continue to perform the brushing and flossing for your child until he or she is old enough to effectively do it by him or herself. For most children, this will be around the age of eight. Younger children may not enjoy having their teeth brushed and flossed, but it is important to establish the routine. Once your child knows the routine, he or she will be more likely to embrace it. To help your child develop good brushing and flossing techniques, have them brush their teeth first, then provide a follow-up brushing to ensure everything was brushed thoroughly. Be sure to encourage them. Let your child know they did a good job!

Child smiling with healthy teeth

It is critical to remember that flossing is just as important as brushing. The older your child gets, the closer the spacing between their teeth becomes. Generally, toothbrush bristles cannot reach in between teeth, which means bacteria will continue to grow there. Dental floss and floss picks are great tools for both parents and kids, making it easy to get in between the teeth to remove harmful bacteria. If your child’s gums are bleeding, that means they are not healthy. Flossing daily will result in much tougher, healthier gums.
Fluoride toothpaste is essential in strengthening and protecting enamel, and should be used as soon as your child is able to spit. Once the enamel is gone, it cannot be re-grown, and a cavity is likely to form. Cavities can cause your child great pain, and if left alone, may result in him or her losing the tooth.

Although oral care for your child at home is important in promoting a healthy mouth, visits to the dental office for professional cleanings and checkups are even more important. Every six months, you should take your child to the dentist. There, the dental hygienists can provide thorough cleanings and fluoride treatments, while the dentist can examine your child’s teeth and fix any problems such as cavities.

Children start getting their first adult teeth, the ones that need to last forever, at age six. Parents need to establish good oral hygiene habits for their kids at an early age so they may enjoy a healthy mouth for a lifetime. So as the National Children's Dental Health Month raises awareness about the importance of oral health this February, help your child “Get A Gold Medal Smile.”