BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Studies show tooth decay affects children in the United States more than any other chronic infectious disease and is five times as common as asthma. That's the bad news. The good news is that it's entirely preventable. As National Children's Dental Health Month kicks off, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) is providing parents with simple ways to lead their children to good, healthy oral hygiene.
"As a parent, our role is to teach children to make good decisions and be involved in their overall care, including taking care of their teeth," said Dr. Sindy Goodman, National Orthodontic Director for Great Expressions Dental Centers. "Healthy kids grow into healthy adults and good habits can be formed early in life. Educating children on the importance of proper oral hygiene at a young age will help develop good habits, leading to good oral health and preventing potentially painful and expensive problems down the road."
Following are some important tips to help your children maintain optimal dental health:
- Make it fun. Creating a game or providing activities will help kids learn the importance of good oral care in a fun way and also will keep them interested. You can make a game creating a timer for brushing or have fun with activity sheets or videos for preschoolers and; kids and preteens on www.MouthHealthy.org by the American Dental Association.
- Lead by example. One of the best ways to teach your children the importance of good oral hygiene is by setting an example. Be sure that your kids see you brushing and flossing as a daily ritual. And it's something that you can do together.
- Limit snacking. Bacteria are created by the acid in sugary and starchy foods that slowly destroys teeth enamel. Every time those foods are consumed an acid bath starts, which lasts 15 minutes. Give your mouth a break in between meals, which includes not sipping on milk or juice. Stick with water.
- Regular visits with your dentist. The dentist is the first line of defense in identifying dental health problems so you can enjoy a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visiting a dentist regularly starting before a child's first birthday. This visit primarily educates parents on how to clean their child's teeth and to ward off the dangers from bedtime bottles and sippy cups that contain milk or juice.
- Brushing and flossing daily. Brushing two to three times a day and flossing one time a day is critical to remove the bacteria that causes bad breath, gingivitis and cavities. Parents should brush their children's teeth until the age of seven which is when kids gain the manual dexterity to brush on their own, and then they should be supervised.
- Using fluoride. The fluoride in tap water, toothpaste and fluoride rinses strengthen the enamel of the teeth protecting them from the harmful effects of cavity causing bacteria. Ask your dentist if fluoride supplements are necessary.
- Orthodontic evaluation. Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth. Children grow quickly and orthodontists are trained to detect problems with the growth and development of the teeth and jaw. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends an orthodontic evaluation by seven years old.
About Great Expressions For nearly 40 years, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) has been a leader in providing preventative dental care, orthodontics and specialty care with local offices in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia. One of the largest privately owned dental service organizations in the United States, GEDC is consistently recognized for contributions to improving oral health through quality and safety initiatives, affordable dental care services, patient convenience, research and more. For more information, go to www.greatexpressions.com .SOURCE Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC)