Mind and Body: Children need good oral care

Cavities (also known as caries or tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States.

Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.

About 1 of 5 (20 percent) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.

One of 7 (13 percent) adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.

Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely (25 percent) to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households (11 percent).

The good news is that cavities are preventable. Fluoride varnish can prevent about one-third (33 percent) of cavities in the primary (baby) teeth.

Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have fewer cavities than children whose water is not fluoridated.

Similarly, children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste will have fewer cavities.

Dental sealants can also prevent cavities for many years. Applying dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth prevent 80 percent of cavities.

For babies

Wipe gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed to wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities

When teeth come in, start brushing twice a day with a soft, small‑bristled toothbrush and plain water

Visit the dentist by your baby’s first birthday to spot signs of problems early.

For children younger than 2, consult first with your doctor or dentist regarding the use of fluoride toothpaste.

For children

Brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

Ask your child’s dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate.

Offer mostly water to drink.

If your child is younger than 6, watch them brush. Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow. Help your child brush until they have good brushing skills.

For pregnant women

When you’re pregnant, you may be more prone to gum disease and cavities, which can affect your baby’s health. Follow these three steps to protect your teeth:

— See a dentist (it’s safe!) before you deliver

— Brush twice a day

— Floss daily

— If you have nausea, rinse your mouth with 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water after you get sick. This helps wash stomach acid away and keep your tooth enamel safe.

Clark County Health Department has been providing preventative dental services to the students of Clark County Public Schools since 2015.

The school-based services include oral health assessments, dental cleaning, fluoride varnish treatments, and preventative dental sealants.

If you would like your child to have preventative dental services at their school, please ask the school nurse or family resource officer for a parental consent form.

Visit the Health Department website at www.clarkhealthdept.org. The department is on Facebook and Twitter @CCHealthDept, or call 859-744-4482.

Article Information taken from : https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/childrens-oral-health/index.html

Submitted by: Brandi Bush, PHRDH