February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, placing emphasis on the need for parents and caregivers to take action early to ensure the health of their children’s teeth.
The Forest County Health Department reminds the public that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease found in children. Each year, more than 51 million school hours are lost due to dental related problems. Fortunately, with good oral health care habits, tooth decay can be prevented.
CDC lists some things you can do to ensure good oral health for your child:
- Encourage your children to eat regular nutritious meals and avoid frequent between-meal snacking.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste. If your child is less than 7 years old, put only a pea-sized amount on their toothbrush.
- If your drinking water is not fluoridated, talk to a dentist, physician, or health department about the best way to protect your child’s teeth.
- Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants. They protect teeth from decay.
- If you are pregnant, get prenatal care and eat a healthy diet. The diet should include folic acid to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord and possibly cleft lip/palate.
Taking care of your children’s teeth, including baby teeth, from the very start is the key to good oral health. A child should visit the dentist when his or her first tooth appears, or by his or her first birthday. Parents and caregivers are very important to serve as role models and teaching their children good oral (dental) health care habits, including proper brushing and flossing techniques, eating nutritious foods and making regular visits to the dentist.
Forest County Public Health partners with the Northwoods Dental Project to provide dental varnishes, sealants, and exams in area Head Starts and schools. Please visit our Northwoods Dental Project website under Services/Dental to find out about our programs to keep your child’s teeth healthy!