Healthy teeth: or not?  Let’s take a look at highlights of a new national survey from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).  From the statistics and insights revealed in this report, we can learn how to have healthy teeth.  With a little thought, you can learn what your family is doing right or doing wrong to maintain healthy teeth.

Researching Healthy Teeth:  How Parents and Kids Performed in National Dentistry (AAPD) Survey

Baby Teeth Deserve some love! And Healthy Teeth.

Happy teeth Mean A Happy Baby! And Angry Teeth May Be as Serious as Tummy Pain.

Let’s face it:  you, as a parent or caregiver are in charge of your child’s teeth.  Healthy teeth and the foundation of a healthy mouth are matters engrained in children in their formative years.

  • On the one hand, we were sad to hear that 74 percent of U.S.–almost three-quarters of U.S. parents –do not take their child to the dentist by their first birthday, the age recommended by AAPD.
  • On the other hand, bravo to the quarter of parents (26 percent) who do take their child to the dentist by their first birthday.  We are proud to announce that this group is mostly millennial parents, and they are more “are more likely to take their child to the dentist by age 1 than any other generation.”
  • Additionally, we noted that 96 percent of parents say oral health is important to their family.  But in contrast to this professed importance, many parents do not think toothaches are a serious ailment.
  • 3 in 10 parents (31 percent) ranked toothaches as the least serious ailment.  They ranked them lowest when compared to tummy aches, earaches, headaches, and sore throats.  Pediatric Dentistry for Children cautions all parents to be on the alert if your child complains about a toothache.  It can be a serious issue.

Healthy Teeth and Quality of Life

The report accentuated the well-known fact that tooth decay remains the most common chronic infectious disease among children.  Research has long proven that tooth decay can cause some serious health issues.

1.    Tooth decay can compromise the health in general of your child.

2.   It can curb development,

3.   And it can stunt the quality of life children enjoy.  Consequences of a mouth full of decay exist both in the short term and long term.

The report stated, “It is also important not to ignore signs of toothaches at any age. This is especially true with young children, as toothaches can be a warning sign for a number of ailments including cavities or infection, which can be treated and prevented if caught early enough.”

Likewise, we now know that without proper dental care, children face possible oral decay and disease.  This is not just one toothache.  But it may be a lifetime of dental complications.  Let’s note that this neglect is also not without pain and expense.  Are you aware that today, “early childhood dental caries—an infectious disease—is 5 times more common in children than asthma.”  It is also “7 times more common than hay fever.”  A good dental home means you have found a good pediatric dentist.  And that is the beginning of healthy teeth.  But it cannot happen unless you, as a parent follow up with good oral health habits at home.

However, Healthy Teeth are Attainable

Parents can set good examples for Healthy Teeth.

Dental Health is our Family’s Goal. And a Parent’s Good Example Can Save A Child’s Teeth.

Do you know that with today’s dentistry, decay (or “caries”) is almost 100 percent preventable?  We want parents to understand that caring for teeth at an early age is critical.  This brings us to the first step for healthy teeth:  The Dental Home.  Your “dental home” is the first step in creating a lifetime of healthy habits for children.

The report released this October, made it very clear:  “A Dental Home sets the foundation for an ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient family.”

Healthy Teeth and the Role of Parents:  Healthy Teeth Don’t Just Happen!

AAPD President and pediatric dentist Joe Castellano, D.D.S states, “While it’s encouraging to know so many parents value oral health, the survey also reveals parents need more information on the first steps to take when it comes to creating an overall foundation for the health and well-being of their child.”  He added, “By establishing a Dental Home early on in a child’s life, we can reduce the chance for developing significant tooth decay.”

Did you know a pediatric dentist like Dr. Troy King here at Oviedo’s Dentistry for Children will give parents helpful information?  We can show you how to create a brushing routine you and your child will enjoy.

Healthy Teeth Have a Blue Print in the Early Years

We have long talked about protecting baby teeth.  Just because they fall out, they get no respect!  They are the pathway to healthy permanent teeth.  If you prevent decay in the baby teeth, you can help stop cavities in the permanent teeth that take their place.

Healthy Food Make Healthy Teeth

Choosing the right foods for children is a big part of maintaining healthy teeth, as is establishing and practicing a proper brushing routine.

Beware of the Hidden Sugars

Advertising has made sugars appear healthy.  “The survey reveals parents have a mixed understanding of what ‘healthy’ foods for kids’ teeth may include.  Nearly half of parents (49 percent) believe pureed fruit pouches are a healthy snack choice.”  They are not.  Here’s Why.

Know What is Not For Healthy Teeth

Both Pureed fruit and granola bars have concentrated sugars.  Concentrated sugars are really very sticky.  They cling to the grooves of children’s teeth.  This gives bacteria loads of time to dig in and damage healthy teeth.

However, did you know cheese is a healthy snack for children’s teeth?  Cheese actually neutralizes acids in the mouth due to an increase in saliva production.  Surprisingly, parents know this.  7 in 10 parents (73 percent) believe cheese is indeed a healthy snack choice for their kids’ teeth.  We can only say, “Bravo.”

Healthy Teeth-the Way Things Are

Interestingly the report found it was the younger parents who would actually help kids brush.

  • 80 percent of parents, ages 18-24 say they help their child brush every time.
  • By comparison, only 42 percent of parents ages 45-54 stated that they assisted in building up good healthy oral hygiene practices.
  • Observing healthy dental hygiene makes an enormous impact as kids get older.  And these kids choose to implement the habits they learned while brushing teeth with mom, dad or their caregiver.

A Healthy Visit from the Tooth Fairy

A Tooth Fairy also brings healthy teeth to your child.

A Tooth Fairy Brings Rewards For Tooth Loss.

Is the Tooth Fairy essential to healthy teeth?  We like the tooth fairy because “she” helps parents prepare for the loss of the baby teeth.

We hope you check for loose teeth each time you help them brush.  Being aware of the changes in your child’s teeth may save you money.  And don’t overpay the Tooth Fairy.  Don’t be one of the 43 percent who overpays for their child’s teeth because they lack knowledge of the change.

“According to the survey, 3 in 10 (29 percent) of these parents overpay their child with a $10 bill; 1 in 5 (20 percent) of these parents overpay with a $20 bill.  So this is how you do it:  Put aside an appropriate amount of money as soon as you know you might shortly be doing Tooth Fairy business.  Healthy teeth and healthy budgets are both a matter of timing.  Just ask the Tooth Fairy.