Healthy Smile, Happy Future
Start the school year off right with a healthy smile!
Where has the summer gone? Back-to-school is upon us again. Help your child start the school year off right by establishing positive oral health habits that will contribute to a lifetime of good health.
Pediatric dental disease, more commonly known as tooth decay, causes the needless pain and suffering of millions of children. It may seem absurd to you that tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood illness and has reached epidemic proportions, but more than 40 percent of children have tooth decay by the time they start kindergarten! In fact, over 51 million hours of school are missed annually due to dental disease, leading to increased educational disparities. This can be tough on parents too, as they miss work tending to their child's dental needs when, in many cases, these treatments could have been avoided by practicing preventive dental care.
Oral health is integral to your child’s overall systemic health, growth and ability to thrive. The mouth is the gateway to the body and serves as a portal for nutritional intake as well as a potential site for microbial infections that can adversely affect general health status. According to the Academy of Pediatrics, lack of proper oral health care can lead to the development of rampant tooth decay, which can cause pain, infection, difficulty speaking and concentrating, malnutrition and sleep deprivation. Not surprisingly, these factors can negatively impact a child’s growth and ability to learn. Dental disease also contributes to low self-esteem, a key factor in a child’s quality of life and ability to succeed.
Instilling good oral health habits in children is a crucial step in fighting tooth decay. A common misconception is that the primary teeth, what we often refer to as baby teeth, are not important. Primary teeth play an important role speech development, a child’s appearance and facial structure, nutrition and ensuring that permanent teeth erupt in their normal positions. Although baby teeth are eventually replaced with permanent teeth, it is essential to keep them healthy. Decay and infection in baby teeth can cause damage to developing permanent teeth.
Left untreated, tooth decay causes pain, infection, difficulty speaking and concentrating, malnutrition and sleep deprivation. The long-term negative effects of severe tooth decay can erode self-esteem, limit employment potential and lead to lifelong health problems.
However, tooth decay is preventable and implementing good oral health practices will ensure your child has the building blocks they need for a happy, healthy future!
For more information, tips and fun activities, visit www.AmericasToothFairy.org!
And here are some activities you can do with your children: