Our children are our future. Everyone has heard that saying. But think of it in these terms – our country’s economy, educational system, and culture is contingent upon the health and well-being of our children. Not only that, but our our actions to support them define that future too.
We have only just begun to focus on oral healthcare in a manner appropriate for something that dictates the outcome of our children’s health and happiness.
High-quality dental care affects so much more than your child’s smile. Healthy teeth can promote a confident attitude. Children who suffer from tooth pain and decay are more likely to have lower grades, miss school, and suffer in areas like eating, sleeping, and speaking.
Preventative dental care is important for a child’s success in school and in life.
This isn’t just about ensuring our children have healthy, strong teeth and pretty smiles. It will give them a confidence boost, sure. But the vast majority of dental disease is preventable.
All children deserve access to the complete range of care they need to live healthy, productive lives. Oral health is a strong predictor of overall health. It is important that parents give their children access to quality, preventive dental care.
Both children and adults should be visiting the dentist for an exam and a cleaning every 6 months. The problem is, many children don’t make their first visit until after the age recommended by dentists.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1. Unfortunately, a survey by Delta Dental Plans shows that the average age of a child’s first dental visit is 2.6 years.
If you are worried about how your child will respond at their first dental visit, you can take the following steps to make them feel more comfortable and ensure that the visit goes smoothly.
- Children learn by example, so be a positive role model. Be diligent about dental care, and your child is more likely to embrace oral hygiene.
- Take your child to the dentist when his or her first tooth erupts. This will help your child get used to going to the dentist. It will also help prevent problems that could get worse over time.
- Play dentist and read children’s books that describe dental visits. The extra information will help alleviate your child’s fears.
- Be supportive and instill trust in your child, but avoid telling him or her that everything will be ok. If a procedure is necessary, telling your child it will be ok could affect the trust he or she has in you. It will also make the dental office an even greater source of anxiety. Instead, offer a hand to squeeze or a hug.
- Use positive phrases like “clean, strong, healthy teeth” to make the visit seem upbeat rather than scary.
Using these techniques will make your child’s dental visits more pleasant for everyone and will pave the way for a lifetime of good oral health.
Thumb sucking and nail biting have it’s pro’s and con’s. The only positive side-effect of this particular habit is the exposure to healthy germs. At an early-life stage we reprimand our kids when we see them biting their nails, or sucking their thumb. But researchers have found that exposure to microbial organisms actually reduce the risk of developing allergies, asthma, and hay fever by teaching the immune system not to overreact. An article that USA Today published back in July of this year, admitted to this hypothesis by stating “At age 13, 38% of children who frequently sucked their thumb or bit their nails had an allergy, compared to 49% of those who didn’t. The study followed up with the children as adults, reporting similar results at age 32.”
To read more on the research pediatrics have concluded click here.
Beyond the toddler years, the downside of thumb sucking and nail biting are the following:
- Depending on the intensity and the duration, these habits interfere with the proper growth of the mouth, shape, and palate, even the shape of their face!
- Nail biting causes un-natural wear to the enamel.
- It could also shift the teeth.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to consult with their pediatric dentist should the habit persist after the age of 3.