It may come as a surprise to some parents that dental caries, more commonly known as tooth decay, has been found to be the most common disease affecting children. This can have a huge impact on the child in terms of enduring pain and discomfort, inability to eat properly, embarrassment due to damaged teeth, being unable to enjoy playing with others, and even the performance in school. To minimize the impact of these negative outcomes, dental organizations have been urging parents to take a vital role in the child’s oral health.
ORAL HEALTH EDUCATION
In a statement released by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it strongly encourages parents to look for a dental care for the infant as soon as the first tooth surfaces. Parents should realize that a child’s dental care may have an impact on overall health. The regular visits to the child’s dentist will allow the parents to be aware of the developments or milestones with regards to the child’s dental or oral health.
Parents will learn a lot from our dentists with regards to oral education. Specifically, this includes proper oral habits, normal development of a child’s teeth, and very importantly the prevention of damage to the teeth. Implementing these suggestions will go a long way in preventing tooth decay and making these a part of the life long habits of the child.
According to a report by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), oral health education should start during prenatal and proceed to the child’s first visit to a dental care provider by the time the child reaches 12 months of age. The inclusion of the prenatal stage is relevant since it has been shown that the mother’s dental health would have a great effect on the child’s overall health. The organization encourages mothers to undergo check-ups for cavities, loose teeth, gingivitis, and other detrimental oral health conditions during pregnancy.
REMINDERS TO PARENTS
Dental providers have been reminding parents on the proper way to handle the diet of the child since this affects oral health. Prolonged exposures to liquids that contain sugar can almost always result in tooth decay. Drinks such as sweetened milk, juice, and sugary drinks should be controlled during the baby’s naptime or before going to sleep. This is important since sugar will remain on the teeth and gums for a long period of time, thereby, promoting tooth decay.
IMPORTANCE OF ORAL HEALTH EDUCATION
Dental organizations are in agreement on the importance of oral health education not only for the children but the parents as well. Aside from acting as teachers to children with respect to oral hygiene, parents play a vital role in prevention of dental conditions that can have damaging effects on infants. Meeting with the dentist will benefit the family by involving the dental professionals in a dialogue to manage the oral health of the whole family.