As parents, how much time do we really spend educating our children about proper dental health? Do we really inspect our kids’ teeth, tongue, and other oral structures after every time they brush? Do our children even really brush their teeth at least two times per day for over two minutes each time?
As a dentist and busy mom of three, even I have to admit that I often rely on my children to adequately brush their teeth day and night. As a health care professional, I am a true advocate of educating children, at a young age, to take responsibility for their own oral health care.
Many schools incorporate an oral health care educational program into the curriculum. It’s not just about brushing your teeth. Children need to be taught and understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods and drinks, the importance of drinking fluoridated water between carbohydrate-rich foods, flossing, tongue cleaning, and simply replacing an old toothbrush – just to name a few things!
It’s important to educate children about the number of teeth they have, proper brushing techniques and times, and the importance of visiting the dentist for regular and routine check-ups, it’s not only rewarding for me as a healthcare provider, but it is also beneficial for the child and their family as well. A child’s tooth (or baby tooth) is about one-quarter of the size of an adult tooth.
This being said, plaque and bacteria attack and spread in a baby tooth at a much faster and more aggressive rate than an adult tooth. Decay or cavities are on the rise again in young children. Particularly during these summer months, children are often giving their teeth a sugar bath with ice creams, popsicles, and many sugary thirst-quenching drinks.
With school time routines often being overlooked during the summer, brushing times are easily shortened or forgotten. It is particularly important for both children and parents to understand, re-establish, and maintain good oral hygiene home care at this time of the year.
So, before the end of the summer – or at the beginning of the fall – make it a point to have your child visit their oral health care provider. You can also contact your child’s school to inquire whether they recommend a local dentist in the area. If the dentist has worked with the school in providing oral health care education to school-age children, your child will most probably do great in the dentist office.
Dr. Shikha Batra is a general and cosmetic dentist in Troy, Michigan. For any further comments, questions, or concerns, feel free to contact her office at 248-362-1100.