"During a child's first dental visit, the dentist can carefully examine the development of the child's mouth," says AGD Spokesperson Kay Jordan, DDS, FAGD. "Many parents are surprised to learn that their little ones can develop tooth decay, or cavities, as soon as their teeth appear."
More than 16.5 million children in the U.S. suffer from tooth decay, and children who develop cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities in their permanent teeth. Moreover, research shows that many parents lack basic information about their children's oral health.
"A visit to the dentist doesn't just benefit the child," Dr. Jordan says. "Parents can pick up tips about properly caring for their child's teeth. Talk to your dentist to learn how to soothe teething irritations, stop prolonged pacifier- and finger-sucking, modify your child's diet to reduce cavity-causing sugars, and more."
To further promote good oral health in children, parents can utilize these tips at home:
-- For children younger than age 2, parents should clean their gums with a
damp cloth and brush their teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush and
-- For children ages 2 and older, help them to brush for two minutes, twice
a day. Children ages 2 and older can use a pea-sized amount of
-- Parents should start flossing between their child's teeth as soon as he
or she has two teeth that touch each other.
-- Parents should monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers and fingers, both
of which can lead to misalignment of teeth.
"Most importantly, parents should try to lead by example. Show your children how you brush and floss your teeth--that will help to instill the importance of good oral health habits," Dr. Jordan says. "And don't forget to see your dentist--at least twice a year, or more if your dentist recommends it!"
For more tips to promote good oral health in children, visit KnowYourTeeth.com or 2min2x.org.
KnowYourTeeth.com is the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) source of consumer information on dental care and oral health. Its goal is to provide reliable information in a format that is easy to use and navigate, and to provide the tools that will help consumers of all ages to care for their teeth and with other aspects of oral care. KnowYourTeeth.com answers important dental health questions, offers the latest information on current dental treatments and tips for first-rate oral hygiene, and can help visitors find qualified dentists near where they live or work.
About the Academy of General Dentistry
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of 38,000 general dentists dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public. AGD members stay up-to-date in their profession through a commitment to continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD is the second largest dental association in the United States, and it is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management, and overall coordination of services related to patients' oral health needs. For more information about the AGD, visit agd.org. The AGD is a member of the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, a first-of-its-kind national dental coalition composed of 37 leading dental health organizations. The Partnership's campaign is designed to educate parents and caregivers on how to improve their children's oral health in simple ways. The campaign offers families oral health resources through the website 2min2x.org.
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