Last week we talked about the 3 Big Reasons Why Your Child Isn’t Happy. This week we want to expand on one of those reasons because it is the secret key to a lifetime of good health and happiness for your child.
That secret is Prevention.
Just like Smokey the Bear said, “Only you can prevent wildfires,” only you can teach your child the importance of preventing dental problems and oral disease. Teaching your child good oral hygiene and maintaining those habits can set them up for a lifetime of good health and happiness.
We mentioned last week that the Surgeon General estimated 51 million hours of school are missed each year due to dental symptoms and illness. And, the pain and suffering due to untreated oral disease can lead to problems with eating, speaking and learning. But, not only does it affect your child’s schooling, oral disease (specifically gum disease), has been linked to damage elsewhere in the body.
Recent studies point to associations between oral infections of the gums to serious medical conditions later in life. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even preterm low-weight births have all been linked to gum disease. In fact, the signs and symptoms of as many as 120 medical conditions can first be detected by an examination of the mouth, throat and neck which your dentist can perform. Which of course means that if found early, a condition can be treated earlier.
Simple oral hygiene habits like brushing properly for 2 minutes 2 times a day every day, flossing regularly and seeing the dentist every 6 months can reduce your child’s risk of cavities and gum disease. Also, setting the example for your child by maintaining your own oral health will help them maintain the health of their own mouth. Like father, like son. Listening to and following the instructions of your child’s dentist or dental hygienist will teach your child the importance of going to the dentist regularly and maintaining good oral hygiene habits as well.
Your child’s diet also has a big impact on the health of their mouth as well as the rest of their body. Did you know that the state of your child’s mouth is a big indicator of the health of the rest of their body? When a child has a high level of sugary foods and drinks in their diet or is not getting the right kind of nutrition it shows in their mouth. Teaching your child healthy eating habits is another way help reduce their risk for oral disease as well as keeping their body healthy.
Come back next week to learn more about how your child’s diet and nutrition can affect their oral health.
Sometimes dental problems are inevitable. When your child’s dentist or dental hygienist sees the early signs of a cavity they may suggest dental sealants. Sealants are a thin plastic coating used to prevent the development of a cavity. They are an excellent preventative tool to reduce the risk of needing a filling or root canal and crown later on (which can be both unpleasant and expensive).
There are so many things that can be done in an effort to prevent oral disease in your child’s life. Talk to your child’s dentist to find out what you can do to keep your child’s mouth healthy and give them a lifetime of health and happiness. If you have questions or if you want to get your child started on the track towards a happy and healthy smile give us a call at (210) 526-0925.
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.
Bricker, R. Lanlais and C. Miller, “Oral Diagnosis, Oral Medicine and Treatment Planning,” 1994.