February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and First 5 LA is celebrating with 28 days full of smile-worthy fun!
My husband and I encourage our daughter to use good oral hygiene on a daily basis. She is three years old and she’s had two dentist visits. So far everything looks great and she seems to be comfortable at the dentist office. One part of our nighttime routine is to brush before we read a book and go to bed. We talk about proper brushing techniques and we involve her in applying toothpaste on her brush, brushing her own teeth and spitting. Do you have a stubborn toddler? Try buying a few character brushes that blink or make music. These products might provide motivation and make brushing a lot more fun.
Our friends over at First 5 LA are promoting Children’s Dental Health Month. Their parent resources website, Ready. Set. Grow!, offers Dental Care Events (free or low cost!), tips and more. Sign up on their email list and receive a free children’s toothbrush!
First 5 LA sent over the following press release regarding their Oral Health Campaign to help families in the LA area. I was surprised what the study revealed about cases of tooth decay in Los Angeles.
TOOTH DECAY A CRITICAL PROBLEM AMOUNG YOUNG CHILDREN IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY
First 5 LA Promotes Children’s Dental Health Month LOS ANGELES—— An epidemic of tooth decay exists among young children living in Los Angeles County’s poorest communities, according to a recent study on children’s dental health. Because the problem is so critical, First 5 LA is teaming up with dental care providers throughout February, Children’s Dental Health Month, to help promote good oral health care. Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.
The study, which was commissioned by First 5 LA along with other partners, revealed that some 72 percent of children under age 5 in underserved communities have untreated cavities. This is more than double the national average among youngsters in comparable age and income groups.
“Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood, occurring up to five times more frequently than asthma and also a leading cause of absence from school,” said Evelyn V. Martinez, chief executive officer of First 5 LA. “Untreated, it can result in serious infections in other parts of the body.” Though tooth decay is the most common preventable illness, many youngsters do not visit the dentist regularly or get the dental care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
“As a result, they are infected with dental diseases that can hurt the development of their permanent teeth, lead to painful conditions and threaten their overall health and well-being,” Martinez said. “Many parents wait until their child is age 3 or 4 before they have a first dental visit, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday.”
First 5 LA is also advocating good dental health for expectant mothers because in addition to tooth decay, gum disease can also pose a serious health threat to them. In 2009, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry announced new oral health guidelines for pregnant women to assist them in maintaining healthy teeth and gums during their pregnancy and into the early stages of motherhood. “Gum disease may cause serious health concerns for pregnant women,” said Dr. Steven Uranga McKane, clinical director of The Children’s Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles. “If you are pregnant or are considering pregnancy, discuss any concerns you may have with your dentist.”
For more information on children’s dental health care visit: www.readysetgrowla.org/oralhealth.
First 5 LA offers tips on the best way to take care of a young child’s teeth:
Birth to 12 months
• Good dental habits should begin before the first tooth appears. After feedings, gently brush your baby’s gums using water on a baby toothbrush that has soft bristles. Or wipe them with a clean washcloth.
• Schedule your baby’s well-child visits. During these visits, your child’s doctor will check your baby’s mouth.
12 to 24 months
• Brush your child’s teeth two times a day using water on a baby toothbrush with soft bristles. Best times are after breakfast and before bed.
• Make sure your child doesn’t drink more than one small cup of juice each day and only at mealtimes.
• Consult with your child’s dentist or doctor about sucking habits. Sucking too strongly on a pacifier, a thumb or fingers can alter the shape of the mouth; how the top and bottom teeth line up.
• Schedule a dental checkup.
About First 5 LA
First 5 LA, a child advocacy and grant-making organization, was created by California voters to invest Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenues, it supports programs for improving the lives of children from prenatal through age 5 in Los Angeles County. First 5 LA champions health, education and safety causes concerning young children and families.
GIVEAWAY: That’s IT Mommy readers will receive 5 sets of books and dental kits from First 5 LA. Kit includes the book Brush, Brush, Brush! (Rookie Toddler) a kid’s toothbrush, fun floss dispenser, training toothpaste and a fun bag with dental tips. Ends 2/21/11
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