As February approaches, it is most important that the general public and health care professionals alike remember that it is National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Dental decay is the number one untreated disease in the country; even more prevalent then asthma. We are very aware, as a society, the cosmetic benefits that dentistry can offer, but the systemic impact of untreated dental decay, especially in the pediatric population, is often overlooked. Untreated decay can lead to abscesses, missed school, systemic concerns, and exacerbation of already existing diseases such as diabetes.
Diet and prevention are the key to battling this nationwide epidemic. Children should be completely off the bottle by the age of 1 and have had there first preventative dental exam. Juices and soda should be limited to meal times, and children should be supervised while brushing, and often helped, until about the age of 10; the age at which children have the dexterity to begin brushing themselves.
Just as with “well-baby” pediatric visits with the physician, it is of utmost importance to begin preventative visits with a pediatric dentist to ensure a lifetime of both oral and systemic health.