Tips To Prevent Children's Dental Disease
The New Mexico Department of Health offers families advice to keep their children's teeth healthy. Good oral health can prevent tooth decay, which is the most common chronic disease of childhood, occurring five to eight times as frequently as asthma. In New Mexico, tooth decay is common among preschool and school-age children.
"The good news is that tooth decay and other oral diseases that can affect children are preventable," said Rudy Blea, Program Director of the Department's Office of Oral Health. "The combination of dental sealants and fluoride has the potential to reduce the incidence of tooth decay in school-age children."
The Office of Oral Health provided more than 7,000 children with dental sealants or applications of topical fluoride last year through its school-based prevention program. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. Fluoride reduces the incidence of tooth decay and slows or reverses the progression of existing lesions (i.e., prevents cavities).
Parents Tips To Prevent Children's Dental Disease:
• Visit your dentist at least twice a year.
• Brush at least twice a day.
• Brush your tongue.
• Floss daily.
• Eat healthy foods.
• Drink water.
• Chew sugarless gum.
• Wear mouth guards when playing sports.
• Get an oral health assessment for your child between ages 1-2 and every six months thereafter.
The Department of Health is promoting good oral health during Children's Dental Health Month in February. Nationally, more than half of children have experienced at least one cavity by the second grade. By the time students finish high school, approximately 80 percent have experienced dental decay.