February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. The ADA (American Dental Association) and our team are using this month as an opportunity to educate our patients, social media followers, parents and children on oral health. We want to promote good dental hygiene habits that support healthy smiles for a lifetime!
According to the CDC, 1 in every 5 children (20%) aged 5 to 11 years old have at least one untreated cavity! That’s about 5 children in every classroom who have untreated tooth decay.
We’re joining in on pediatric dental health awareness, because now is the time to prevent cavities! Here’s why…
The importance of oral health with tiny teeth
Baby teeth may be small, but they play a critical role in preparing the mouth for a beautiful set of permanent teeth. They also impact major functions, like chewing, speaking, and sleeping quality. Baby teeth are in our mouths for about 8 to 10 years – a significant amount of time!
Good oral hygiene is as important as ever when the baby teeth are still present. Baby teeth can still develop cavities (tooth decay) and the gums can still develop periodontal disease! Developing strong oral hygiene habits early on can protect the gums and baby teeth, and support the permanent teeth for a lifetime.
How you can celebrate
The best way to bring awareness to pediatric dental health month is to help your child develop a strong oral hygiene routine.
- Help your child understand why it’s important to brush and floss their teeth every night.
- Explain the potential consequences of neglecting their dental hygiene.
- Lead by example. Brush and floss your teeth with your child.
- Encourage your child to love their smile and to do everything they can to protect their smile.
When should children receive their first orthodontic exam?
Dental health goes hand-in-hand with orthodontics! When the teeth are aligned and the jaw bones develop properly, it’s much easier to maintain dental hygiene. Misalignments can create hard-to-reach spaces where bacteria grow, leading to yellow teeth, bad breath, periodontal disease and tooth decay.
The AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) advises that children receive their first orthodontic exam by the age of 7. During this time, the baby teeth are shedding and the permanent teeth are beginning to erupt.
In fact, it’s often better to treat skeletal problems before all of the permanent teeth and jaws have fully developed. If Dr. Matsumoto recognizes that your child would benefit from early treatment to prevent aid in proper growth of the jaw and eruption of permanent teeth, then he will make that recommendation.
Beginning orthodontic treatment around the age of 7 (if necessary) can help your child experience a beautiful, healthy smile for years to come!
Still have questions about children’s dental hygiene?
We’re here for you! Our dual-trained and board-certified orthodontist and periodontist, Dr. Matsumoto has years of experience working with young patients and their parents to develop strong, healthy smiles. If you have any questions or you’d like some more advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our orthodontist office in Wilmington, NC.
If your child hasn’t received their first orthodontic exam yet we encourage you to schedule a complimentary consultation today.
Though many other orthodontists will suggest it is necessary for children to begin treatment immediately, Dr. Matsumoto takes a conservative approach toward children’s orthodontics. We will never suggest treatment that isn’t necessary or beneficial! We only want what’s best for you and your child’s smiles.