Something to smile about
February is National Children's Dental Health Month
Dental screenings of Alabama school children in 2003 found that many children either have one or more cavities that need filling, or that they already have at least one filling, which means they had cavities at an earlier age.
In the statewide survey, 61 percent of third grade students screened either have a cavity now or have had a cavity in the past. This is similar to national statistics and points out the needs for preventative actions to increase the number of children who never get a cavity.
February is National Children's Dental Health Month, a time to remind parents than a cavity may occur in children as young as age 1, long before he or she starts school. And while tooth decay can be damaging at any age, it can be particularly so among the young, preschool child.
"Good nutritional and oral hygiene practices, starting at an early age, are important to keep your child's teeth healthy and ensure a healthy smile that will last a lifetime," said Dr. Stuart A. Lockwood, State Dental Director, Alabama Department of Public Health.
"Baby teeth are important to help your children chew food, talk clearly and save space for the permanent teeth when they erupt in the mouth," Lockwood said. "At any age, however, tooth decay is preventable whenever appropriate strategies are begun and followed."
Here are 10 strategies parents can follow for a lifetime of health smiles: