Tooth be told: dental health

COMMENTARY

Regular dental cleanings for kids are one of many aspects of people’s lives that have been interrupted over the past year. However, instilling good dental hygiene habits early is still critical in helping ensure long-lasting oral health for a child.

Most dental plans cover children starting at birth. A child should see a dentist by the eruption of the first tooth or at one year old.

There are also ways to maintain proper oral health at home.

Perhaps one of the benefits of spending more time at home is the ease of access to brushing teeth after each meal, thus reducing bacteria and helping protect tooth enamel from damage.

After each meal, parents can brush their teeth with their children or send them with their siblings to help establish the habit.

If done correctly, flossing is important to oral health. Parents can let their children imitate them. Watching adults floss their teeth is one of the best ways for kids to learn how to floss their own to help to polish the sides of teeth, prevent tartar and keep bad breath at bay.

Stay hydrated. Encourage keeping a water bottle on hand to stay hydrated and wash away bacteria after snacking.

Sugar can stay on teeth for up to 20 minutes after eating. It is unrealistic for anyone—let alone young children—to brush their teeth after every crunch of cracker or sweetened beverage.

Distance learning has many students visiting their pantry at home. Make it easier for children to opt for good choices by stocking the pantry with healthy options such as prepared fruits and veggies, granola or roasted chickpeas.

This will have a positive effect not only on their oral health, but also their overall health.

Fight cavities with fluoride. There is a possibility that the household water is not fluoridated as it may have been at school. Help kids get their fluoride fix with fluoride toothpaste or fluoride-filled lollipops, both of which will help to strengthen the enamel, prevent tooth decay and reduce plaque.

“Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease of children over 6 years old,” said Dr. Gregory Theis, director of Dental Services, Delta Dental of Wisconsin.

Courtesy of North American Precis Syndicate.

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