Post by Dr. Ebony Jordan
Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Tooth decay (cavities) is the single most common chronic childhood disease according to the U.S. Surgeon General. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) encourages parents and caregivers to “Get it Done in Year One.” Visiting a pediatric dentist by the time the first baby tooth appears enables the child to begin a lifetime of preventive dental care, helping to minimize tooth decay and cavities, 90% of dental decay can actually be prevented. Studies show that dental costs for children who have their first dental visit before age one are 40 percent lower in the first five years than for those who do not see a dentist prior to their first birthday.
Baby teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay from their very first appearance, on average between the ages of six and 12 months. Pediatric dentists specialize in caring for these teeth, imperative for proper speech development and nutrition. The specialized care offered by a pediatric dentist includes strategies for working with children that alleviate fear and anxiety through the use of positive reinforcement and behavior guidance.
Special importance is placed on preventing tooth decay. Studies show that poor oral health care in children can lead to impaired school performance and poor social relationships.
The role of the Pediatric Dentist changes as children enter adolescence. Recognizing the growing importance of appearance and self-image in their patients, Pediatric Dentists work to ensure that adolescents’ dental needs are met. Preventative dental health care is emphasized and when necessary information is provided to adolescents about subjects such as wisdom teeth, tobacco use, sealants and oral piercing.
This February please help the initiative to give kids an early start to lifetime of healthy teeth and gums!
For more information about HealthNet’s Dental Department, call a HealthNet location near you!