Statistics show that caries (dental decay) is the most common, chronic childhood disease in the U.S. — five times more common than asthma, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Unlike asthma, caries can be prevented!
- First tooth = first dental visit. When a child’s first tooth appears, talk to your dentist about scheduling the first dental visit. Treat the first dental visit like a well-baby checkup and continue checkups as recommended.
- There’s no such thing as “clean” spit. Caries-causing bacteria are passed through saliva. When parents or caregivers “clean” a pacifier or use the same utensil to taste food before feeding children, the bacteria can be passed along.
- Brushing begins with first tooth. By the time children are 3 years old, most will have a full set of 20 baby teeth. Parents shouldn’t wait until then to start children brushing, which should begin when a child’s first tooth appears. Visit MouthHealthy.org for recommendations on how to brush, including how much toothpaste to use.
- Brushing doesn’t have to be boring. Keep a sticker chart to track and reward brushing, and play videos to get kids into the habit of brushing for a full two minutes. Get a free, downloadable sticker chart and videos at 2min2x.org.
Each February, the ADA sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month, a national health observance that brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, other healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good dental health habits to children, their caregivers, teachers, and many others. This year’s campaign theme is “Defeat Monster Mouth“ and features the McGrinn Twins, Flossy and Buck, who are fighting to defeat Plaqster the Monster.
The Loma Linda University Riverside County Dental Program is one of four programs funded by First 5 Riverside to provide low cost to no cost screenings, treatment and access to dental coverage for Riverside County children through age 5. Other grantees include Loma Linda University Special Needs Dental Care, Borrego Community Health Foundation (serving Nuevo and the Desert) and Palo Verde Unified School District in Blythe. Learn more about these programs and other First 5 Riverside grantees.