Must-Know survey info has come to light concerning kids’ teeth.  The AAPD recently focused on facts about children’s dental health and we’re following up with must-know news and statistics. It’s time you knew about the gaps in parents’ oral health care knowledge.  Why?  Because knowledge might make the difference in the gaps between your child’s teeth as he or she ages.

Number 1 of the Must-Know Facts:  There are Generational Differences in Priorities for Dental Care

Must-Know Brushing Techniques

In Training For Good Oral Health Habits

There are great differences in the priority parents place on caring for little teeth.  The report revealed, “three out of four are not taking kids to a dentist by recommended age.”

Thus, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD,) nearly 3 quarters U.S. parents do not take their child to the dentist by their first birthday, the age recommended by AAPD.  At Dentistry for Children, we believe this is partly due to semantics.

Because many dentists say simply that they want to see the child no later than one year.  Therefore, parents do not realize that we want to see your child’s dental development from the very beginning. This means you should schedule that first vital dental home visit when your child’s first tooth erupts, around 4-6 months.

In fact, we actually like a preliminary visit prior to that.  We invite you to schedule your baby for an introductory welcoming visit.  You are introducing the baby to the 21st-century dental environment. (No, he or she won’t remember.  But think about how much more comfortable you’ll be when you return with the baby 6 months later with his teething problems.)

At the Welcoming visit, Dr. King can check the proper development of your child’s articulators before eating and talking become life issues.

We are Doing Something Right:

Statistics did reveal that “Of the quarter of parents (26 percent) who do take their child to the dentist by their first birthday, millennial parents (29 percent) are more likely to take their child to the dentist by age 1 than any other generation.” On the one hand, we were proud to see in the report that “96 percent of parents say oral health is important to their family…”

Must-Know Facts Helps Teaching Good Dental Techniques

Healthy Eating Creates Healthy Teeth and Smiles

However, on the other hand, we at Dentistry for Children were a little horrified that nationally 3 out of 10 parents, “do not think toothaches are a serious ailment.”

That is exactly why we want to see your baby as soon as his or her adorable first tooth begins to erupt.  “By establishing a Dental Home early on in a child’s life, the chance for developing tooth decay is significantly reduced.”  We want the doctor to check out gums, bone, tissues, hard and soft pallets, and tongue.

As regular dental appointments are scheduled at the Dental Home, Dr. King provides you with helpful information over the years.  For example, our office will help you put “put a brushing routine into action for your child.”  And it will provide a brief and special time that you and the child will both enjoy.  Brushing and flossing can become a happy habit, not dental drudgery.

Number 2 of the Must-Know Facts:  Many Parents Still Misunderstand the Value of Baby Teeth

Over the course of our blogs, we have stated the importance of Baby Teeth Baby teeth function as the blueprint, space savers and pathway for your child’s permanent teeth.  Although they are temporary and meant to fall out, they can help prevent cavities in permanent teeth.  If you want to know more about this, please check out one of our previous blogs.

Number 3 of the Must-Know Facts: Food for Thought

The survey uncovered a frighteningly mixed misunderstanding of healthy food for kids’ teeth.  For example, “Nearly half of parents (49 percent) believe pureed fruit pouches are a healthy snack choice…” We have published several blogs exposing the myths of sugary fruit juices”…Likewise over, one-third of parents think granola bars (39 percent) are healthy for kids’ teeth.

“On the contrary, pureed fruit and granola bars have concentrated sugars and stick to the grooves on kids’ teeth, giving bacteria plenty of time to do damage.”

Teaching Special Dental Habits Can Be Taught in Many Ways

Many Grandparents Share Teaching the Lessons of Childhood. Why Not Add Dental Care?

However, some parents are shocked to learn, cheese is a snack healthy for kids’ teeth.  You see, cheese neutralizes acids in the mouth due to an increase in saliva production.  In the survey, we were proud to know 7 in 10 (73 percent) believe cheese is indeed a healthy snack choice for their kids’ teeth.  However, we are seeking to raise the percentage next year.

It does not require much deep thought to realize that choosing the right foods plays a major role in maintaining healthy teeth.  Reading labels has helped many of our parents at Dentistry for Children understand that cute packaging sometimes covers a hidden high sugar content in spite of “healthy” on the food label.

Number 4 of Our Must-Know Dental Facts

We have also blogged previously about establishing and practicing a proper brushing routine.  The AAPD recommends brushing and flossing for two minutes twice a day.  With educational initiatives like those instituted by our dental hygienists and this blog, we hope to raise these percentages:

About half (49 percent) of parents with kids between the ages of 4 and 7 help their children brush their teeth every time.  Younger parents were more likely to regularly help their kids brush versus older parents:

  • On the One Hand: 80 percent of parents ages 18-24 say they help their child brush every time.
  • On the Other Hand:  only 42 percent of parents ages 45-54 do the same.

What is the Reason for these Percentage Differences?

Since we see many grandparents in the parental role, we understand this problem better.  We also see it in blended families that end up with older parents.  Parents and grandparents who are enjoying the second-time around with the 2nd or 3rd marriage might take for granted that oral care has not changed.  Likewise, older parents might simply be too busy to help. Perhaps we are traditionalists, but we have seen older siblings enlisted in these situations.  When her 8-year-old brother graduated his recent appointment without any cavities, we saw one very proud 15-year-old big sister.  She was beaming as they walked out of the office with their mom.  We know why.

Thus, with enhanced understanding, we hope to improve the above-described facts in this generational gap in tooth care knowledge.  Again, only education can help.

Number 5 of the Must-Know Facts: The Impact of Brushing Habits

Habits that are learned at a young age carry on in older years.

It’s a Mother – Daughter Experience. Happy Brushing.

You see, brushing habits make an impact as kids get older.  And then, they choose to implement the habits they learned while brushing teeth with mom and dad.  Surprising to most parents is that this assisted brushing should continue up until at least age 6.  As we have stated before, until then, children do not have the hand-eye coordination to brush properly on their own.  Additionally, they need the extra time to establish what we hope will become a life long habit.

That fact alone is worth establishing a Dental Home.  Just because your four-year-old is a big walking, talking girl does not mean she can brush and spit properly, unattended for 2 full minutes.  We don’t want her to miss surfaces of her tiny teeth and invite Mr. DK and the sugar-bugs to set up house-keeping in her mouth.  Nor do we want her consuming the incorrect quantities of toothpaste.  It does look like cake frosting, doesn’t it?

So we have given you 5 Must-Know Facts and Shocking Statistics recently investigated by the AAPD.

We, the staff at Dentistry For Children in Orlando, hope you will take your child’s dental habits and history to heart.  A lifetime of good dental skills could save them a lifetime of dental pain, misery, and expense.  When it comes to teeth, prevention is so much cheaper than repair.  Help us close the gaps in smiles, in teeth, in parental knowledge, and in oral hygiene skills.