February 6, 2013
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
PDA Reminds Parents About the
Importance of Children’s Oral Health
February is National
Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), an oral health campaign designed to
educate children about the importance of good oral health and developing healthy
habits that will last a lifetime.
Tooth decay affects more than one quarter of children ages two to five, half
of those ages 12 to 15 and countless adults in the United States. In fact, tooth
decay is the most common chronic disease in children; five times more common
than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. The good news is that
tooth decay is preventable.
The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) encourages parents to help their
children develop good habits at an early age, 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 football, field hockey, ice hockey, baseball, basketball,
softball, wrestling, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating and martial
Learning about oral health can be informative and fun at the same time for
kids of all ages. Visit PDA’s 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 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 talk with your
more about NCDHM. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
About the Pennsylvania Dental Association
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.