February 17, 2010
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
PDA Reminds Parents About the Importance of Children’s Oral Health
It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), an oral health campaign designed to educate children about the importance of good oral health. The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) emphasizes developing good habits at an early age to help children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Tooth decay affects more than one-fourth of children ages two to five and half of those ages 12 to 15 in the United States. As a parent or caregiver, there are many things you can do to prevent decay from occurring, including:
- Brush teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time. Brushing after breakfast and before bedtime is recommended. To help your child brush for the correct amount of time, try setting an egg timer or listening to a song. It is important to brush all tooth surfaces, including the gums, backs of teeth and even the tongue. Talk to your child’s dentist about when to begin using a fluoride toothpaste and fluoride supplements if your community’s water supply is not fluoridated.
- Floss between teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps remove pieces of food that get stuck between teeth and under gums, reaching places your toothbrush can't. Establish healthy eating habits for your child.
- Offer a variety of foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains and meat/poultry/fish. Avoid sugary beverages, such as soda, juice and sports drinks, and snacks that contain high amounts of sugar. Each time you eat or drink something with sugar, harmful acids attack your teeth for at least twenty minutes. Repeat attacks can lead to tooth decay.
- Visit the dentist every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning. Regular visits will not only help detect possible dental problems in their early stages, but also will help your child feel more comfortable going to the dentist.
- If your child is involved in any contact sport or recreational activity, he or she should always wear a mouthguard. Examples of contact sports include, but are not limited to, football, field hockey, ice hockey, baseball, basketball, softball, wrestling, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating and martial arts.
Learning about oral health can be informative and fun at the same time for kids of all ages. Visit PDA’s online Kids’ Corner for interactive games and activities, information on brushing and flossing, answers to frequently asked questions, nutritional information and more.
If you are a parent, don’t forget to visit PDA's online Patient Resource Center. The Patient Resource Center is a great source of information on a variety of oral health topics from caring for baby teeth to what to expect at your child’s first dental visit and many more. If you have specific questions about your child's oral health, please speak with your dentist.
Pennsylvania Dental Association
Founded in 1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately 6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association (ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA’s mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients. PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. Learn more about PDA.