NHM Health Focus: Children's Dental Health
Children's Dental Health month is celebrated each year in February.
"Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children. This preventable health problem begins early: 28 percent of children aged 2-5 years have already had decay in their primary (baby) teeth. By the age of 11, approximately half of children have experienced decay, and by the age of 19, tooth decay in the permanent teeth affects two-thirds (68 percent) of adolescents. Low-income children have twice as much untreated decay as children in families with higher incomes. This may result in pain, dysfunction, underweight, and poor appearanceproblems that can greatly reduce a child's capacity to succeed in the educational environment." (CDC)
For the best possible dental health, children (as well as teens and adults) need a combination of personal and professional tooth care.
Prevention begins at home with a healthy diet and regular brushing and flossing. See How Stuff Works for a detailed description of how to brush. The included explanations may even persuade the most reluctant brushers. Proper Flossing is an illustrated set of flossing instructions posted by the The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA). Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments describes of some of the consequences of poor dental hygiene and lack of professional dental care.
Give Kids a Smile Day, (Friday, February 2, 2007) is designed to provide dental care for children basic dental care and to raise awareness of this serious health problem. It is one of several local, regional and national initiatives designed to help make policymakers and the general public aware of the severity of the problem and to promote efforts towards its solution.
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to dental health: