Children’s Dental Health Month
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. This month-long national health observance was initiated by the American Dental Association (ADA). It is intended to bring together dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers, and many others. Establishing good oral habits at a young age is the first step to healthy teeth, the whole life through.
Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children in the United States (CDC, 2022). Cavities often develop between the teeth and in the presence of deep grooves. Pain from cavities can affect a child’s ability to eat, speak, and even how they learn in school. Concentrating while having a toothache is difficult, and those with poor oral health often miss more school (CDC, 2022).
“More than half (52%) of children aged 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one of their baby (primary) teeth. And more than half of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have had a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth” (CDC, 2022).
Here are 4 risk factors for increasing the chance of children getting cavities (CDC, 2022).
- Family members (older brothers, sisters, or parents) have cavities
- Eating and drinking a lot of sugary foods and drinks, especially between meals
- Special health care needs
- Wearing braces or orthodontic appliances
The good news is that cavities are preventable. It is important to establish good nutrition and oral hygiene practices at a young age.