February is Children’s Dental Health Month


BUCKHANNON — In recognition of February as National Children’s Dental Health Month, Wilson Martino Dental informed The Record Delta about the importance of prevention and the benefits of good oral health in children.

Registered Dental Hygienist Kaye Loyd explained, “Exposing children at an early age to preventive dental care is key to good dental health. If children learn good habits of brushing, flossing and nutrition, they are likely to continue those habits into adulthood.”

Developing good dental habits at an early age, in addition to scheduling regular dental visits, essentially helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, according to Director of Marketing, Wendy Boyce. It is reported that early childhood tooth decay has surprisingly become the most common chronic childhood disease, impacting more children than asthma. According to the American Dental Association, more than 40% of children suffer from tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten. “Additionally, kids who suffer from poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain,” Boyce reported.    

Dr. Edward Linger stated, “Your child’s dental health is a vital part of overall health. Detecting problems at an early age can not only prevent premature loss of teeth in children, associated with risk of infections, but also educate families on how to prevent it before it ever starts. A lot of dental issues can be prevented early by eliminating habits that cause decay in children and help with overall quality of nutrition and life in general.”

Parents often ask, “Why it is so important to take care of baby teeth, if they are just going to fall out anyway?” Well, Wilson Martino Dental says baby teeth are important because of their key role in saving space for a child’s permanent teeth. “They also stay in a child’s mouth for about 8-10 years and can affect their speaking, chewing, and of course, smiling. Untreated tooth decay can cause oral infections that enter the bloodstream and lead to other serious health problems, while also allowing bacteria to spread to new adult teeth,” Boyce shared.

Bacteria that cause tooth decay can still linger between teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach, which is why it’s important to include daily flossing and rinsing into a child’s dental care routine, in addition to daily brushing. Wilson Martino Dental recommends OraCare rinse, which eliminates biofilm. “Cavities are the most common chronic disease in children age 6-11 years old. Make sure you and your children visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up,” suggested Dr. Byron Wilfong.

Boyce reported, “Another significant health risk for infants and young children under the age of 1 is baby bottle tooth decay, which occurs when your child consumes sugary liquid, allowing the bacteria in their mouth to consume the sugar and produce acid.” This particular acid will attack tooth enamel and has the potential to trigger tooth decay after continued exposure. Liquids that reportedly contribute to this condition include milk, formula, fruit juice, soda and any other sweetened drinks. 

The doctors of Wilson Martino Dental take pride in serving patients in such vital years of early childhood. “From babies to adults, we are here to take care of your entire family,” they expressed. 

The following steps are recommended to start your children on their journey to a lifetime of healthy smiles:

  • Schedule routine check-ups. If it’s been more than six months since your child has seen a dentist or if you have a concern or emergency, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
  • Clean your baby’s gums daily. Until those teeth come in, gently wipe a damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria after each feeding.
  • Start brushing with the first tooth. Begin brushing your baby’s teeth when you see one coming in with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).
  • Brush twice each day for two minutes. Children ages 2-6 should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Always supervise kids younger than six years old while brushing, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste.
  • Begin flossing. Once your child’s teeth touch, you can start flossing in between them.
  • Snack healthy! Fruit juice, sports drinks, fruit snacks, and sticky candies all pose serious threats to your child’s teeth. Give kids calcium-rich snacks like cheese or low-sugar yogurt. If you have to resort to candy, a chocolate bar is preferable to gummy or sticky sweets that can get lodged in between the teeth, even after brushing.
  • Keep them hydrated! Avoid sugary drinks and stick to good old-fashioned water. Water helps to rinse away any sugar or particles that can lead to cavities. Many municipal water sources also contain fluoride, which is recommended by the American Dental Association and U.S. Surgeons General, among others, as an efficient way to prevent tooth decay. In fact, the theme of this year’s National Children’s Dental Health Month is celebrating 75 years of water fluoridation.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months.


Committing to their goal of prevention for children, Wilson Martino Dental partners with Captain Super Smiles and his team of Smile Defenders who work hard to help kids defeat the Mouth Invaders. This group helps teach kids the importance of taking great care of their smile at home, while also helping them understand what to expect during their visit to the dentist. When children visit the office, they experience an appointment like no other, complete with murals and iPads in the waiting room, and TVs on the ceiling so they can watch their favorite shows/movies during the appointment. Additionally, once their visit is complete, children are outfitted with their very own superhero gear. For more information about the Smile Defenders program, visit their website at https://www.smiledefenders.com/.

Wilson Martino Dental’s Buckhannon Office located at 19 E. Main Street can be reached at (304) 472-4954, so call today to schedule an appointment and prioritize your family’s dental health.

 

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