This month, Tooth Fairies across the nation stretched out their wings and jingled their change purses to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month! Taking care of a child’s teeth and mouth can be challenging for many parents amid all of the other responsibilities associated with child rearing. However, oral hygiene is an important aspect of your child’s health that can directly impact their adult life.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s “A Pediatric Guide to Children’s Oral Health”, by age three the average child has twenty primary teeth, also known as baby teeth. These teeth typically begin to fall out to make room for permanent teeth between the ages of five to seven. However, disease can spread more quickly in the baby teeth if not properly taken care of or treated (“American”, 2009).
Poor dental hygiene is linked to numerous health problems in children (and adults as well). These issues may include low self esteem due to the poor condition of one’s teeth and early childhood caries- otherwise known as cavities- (ECC). ECC is the among most common diseases in children nationwide and can lead to pain or discomfort for the child, difficulty chewing, poor growth or weight gain caused by not eating, and even infection (“Brushing”, 2010;“Pact”, n.d.). For more information on ECC, check out this presentation from the AAP: Protecting All Children’s Teeth: Caries.
Does your child not enjoy trips to the dentist? It is a common concern among parents that their child fears or dislikes trips to the dentist for their regular check-ups, therefore making it easy to put off the appointments. If your child is gritting their teeth at the thought of seeing the dentist, here are some ideas on how to make the experience more enjoyable:
- Sprinkle a little fairy dust. Visits from the infamous Tooth Fairy can be a great incentive for children to keep their teeth in shiny shape. Traditionally, when a child loses a baby tooth they leave it under their pillow at night. Then, the tooth touting pixie collects it and leaves behind money or a treat for the child to enjoy. Participating in this tradition can motivate your child to keep their teeth extra clean in the hopes of a great surprise from the Tooth Fairy.
- Set the shining example. A parent or guardian’s relationship with going to the dentist or oral health in general can directly impact their children’s feelings on oral health (“If Parents”, 2010). So, setting the example and showing a child good oral hygiene at home and positivity when going to the dentist is crucial in calming any fears or anxieties the child might have about the dentist office.
- Make it fun. Many pediatric dentist offices offer games, books, television, and even video games for children to enjoy while waiting for their appointment. Bring along books, games or toys to comfort your child just in case the office does not provide them. Associating the dentist office with play time will make it a more positive experience.
You and your family’s dental health is important to you and therefore it is important to us. We at the American Bar Association (ABA) offer Dental Insurance plans to our members on both an individual and firm level.
As if protecting your human child’s chompers wasn’t enough to consider, February is also National Pet Dental Health Month. Just as in humans, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a lack of proper dental hygiene can lead to serious health complications for our furry friends. These issues can spread well beyond bad breath and yellow teeth, both of which may be signs of a greater health problem (“February”, 2017). The ABA understands how important your pet is as a part of your family and that’s why we are proud to also offer Pet Insurance among our many member benefit offerings.
Getting dental insurance for you, your family and even your pet doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth. Call us or go online to find out more information about all of the insurance product solutions offered to you through your ABA membership.
American Academy of Pediatrics. A Pediatric Guide to Children’s Oral Health. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009
Brushing Up on Oral Health: Never Too Early to Start. (2014, October 3). American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/oral-health/Pages/Brushing-Up-on-Oral-Health-Never-Too-Early-to-Start.aspx
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. (2017). American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/February-is-National-Pet-Dental-Health-Month.aspx
If Parents Visit the Dentist, Children Probably Will Too. (2010, February 1). American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/If-Parents-Visit-the-Dentist,-Children-Probably-Will-Too.aspx
PACT Educational Materials: Caries [PowerPoint Slides]. (n.d.). American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from http://www2.aap.org/ORALHEALTH/pact/index-materials.cfm