Quick….what’s the most common chronic disease in children? The answer might surprise you, but it’s nothing a little brushing and some floss can’t help with – it’s tooth decay.
According to USA Today, tooth decay in children is “five times as common as asthma, and seven times as common as hay fever.” It’s a great time to talk about this issue since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Even though tooth decay can be prevented, most children in Arizona still get cavities. More than half of Arizona’s kindergarten children (52%) have a history of tooth decay, higher than the national average for 5 year old children (36%).
The Arizona Dental Association put together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) from a child’s perspective. Among the questions:
- How often should I floss and why?;
- Why should I wear a mouth guard while playing sports?; and
- What is plaque and why is it harmful?
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix will be offering free dental screenings this weekend as part of its Healthy Smiles Month. A mobile dental van will be at the museum on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-to-2pm.
Failing to maintain good oral health habits even affects young children in the classroom. The National Education Association (NEA) reports that “students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.”
If you need a few tips on good oral health practices, the Mayo Clinic has a resource page that is chock full of dental care basics such as:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day;
- Take enough time to do the job right;
- Practice good technique;
- Know when to replace your toothbrush; and
- Floss, floss, floss!
A statewide survey, released by ADHS, suggests the oral health of Arizona children is well below the national recommendations. Let us know how you think we can turn those numbers around and have our kids flashing healthy smiles! Good oral health is one more piece of the huge health puzzle we need to continue working on to one day reach our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!