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As parents, we understand that we all want our children to be happy and healthy.  Your child’s oral health is a big part of their overall wellness.  Here are 3 BIG reasons why your child isn’t happy and why their oral health is probably the culprit.

1. The most common childhood disease is tooth decay.

The Surgeon General reports that dental caries (tooth decay), is the single most common chronic childhood disease.  5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever!  Not only is it more common than any other chronic childhood disease, it’s also causing our children to miss A LOT of school.  The Surgeon General also reports that children in America miss an estimated 51 million hours of school Every Year due to dental-related illness. It is estimated that more than half of all children ages 5-9 have at least one cavity or filling.  By 17 years old that number increases to 78%.

2. Prevention is the king that doesn’t wear the crown.

Do you see what we did there? (Wink) Dental problems often start early, and as you can see from our first point, they are very common.  So, the earlier your child starts seeing a dentist on a regular basis, the better.  We recommend, as does the American Dental Association, that children go to see the dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth.  Generally speaking that’s about from 12-18 months old.  Visiting a dentist at 1 year old helps to detect early signs of decay and cavities in baby teeth.  Yes, baby teeth get cavities too, and they matter just as much as permanent teeth do; if not more so since they can affect the development of permanent teeth and bone structure.  Regular preventative treatment like cleanings every six months, fluoride treatment and dental sealants can significantly reduce the risk for decay and oral disease, which affects an estimated 2.5 million children nationwide.  Early prevention of oral disease can also reduce the risk for dental and medical health problems later in life that can be painful, expensive and not just limited to the mouth.

Next week we’ll go a little more in depth about prevention and the link between oral disease and the rest of the body.

3. Healthy Kids Smile More.

This is just a fact of life that doesn’t need statistics to prove it.  Healthy and happy kiddos (and adults) smile more often and are more likely to socialize and make friends.  And who doesn’t want to see a child smile?  But for those of you who need a full, well-rounded 3 big reasons, here it is.  The Surgeon General also reported that children in America experience an estimated 12.5 MILLION DAYS of restricted activity due to dental problems and symptoms.  That means that kids who are in pain from a tooth ache or feel embarrassed about their teeth for any reason are spending 12.5 MILLION DAYS not being happy, not smiling, not interacting, not playing, not being kids, not engaging in life because of a dental problem or symptoms from a dental problem.  Help your kiddos keep smiling.  Take them to the dentist!

If you want to get your child started on the right track towards a happy and healthy smile give us a call.

(210) 526-0925

Check in with us next week for more about the link between oral disease and how it affects the rest of the body, and why teaching your child about prevention is so important.

For information, resources and fun activities to teach your child about the importance of good oral health, visit mouthhealthy.org and mouthhealthykids.org.

Sources:  Oral Health in America: a Report of the Surgeon General, 2000. (http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/SurgeonGeneral/Documents/hck1ocv.@www.surgeon.fullrpt.pdf)
American Dental Association, http//:ADA.org

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