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A New Approach to Learning Oral Hygiene?

Children Wearing Sunglasses in CircleAs all parents are well aware, teaching our children how to care for their oral health through disciplined habits, repeated daily, is a process that can take years. Part of our job as parents is helping kids to learn these habits through example as well as by supporting, often through supervision, kid’s practice of regular brushing and flossing.

A call for Supervision

Now in England and Wales, this supervision has been extended to schools and nurseries in addition to the home. In order to combat the high rate of dental decay in children, some health care organizations are recommending that teachers and childcare workers join the cause of teaching kids how to care for their teeth.

In an article in Dentistry Today, officials are concerned by statistics showing that 10 percent of three-year-olds in England and Wales have at least signs of dental decay, despite their young age, public knowledge of the problem, and its avoidable nature. In some areas of the United Kingdom, it has been found that up to half of all five-year-olds have tooth decay. Areas with higher rates of tooth decay are usually areas suffering from poverty, as well– a factor that is also present in U.S. dental health.

And the United Kingdom is not alone; in a 2012 survey on dental health, only 41% of Europeans reported still having their original teeth.

Poor dental health is still a problem

An article in Nature highlights the relationship between childhood tooth decay and later dental health problems– including dental caries, periodontitis, and generalized inflammation. The article was based on a longitudinal study that followed a cohort of British-born children and monitored the status of their oral health and different intervals– ages five, nine, 15, etc, until the age of 38.

According to British authorities (and those at home in the U.S.), two major modern contributors to oral health problems are smoking and diabetes (which are in themselves linked). In addition to suggesting school-wide assistance with brushing and flossing, authorities strongly suggest quitting smoking and other habits that contribute to poor dental health and diabetes. They also suggest emphasizing education for children about oral health and risks to oral health.

Good dental habits are important!

While we don’t see the same rate of dental decay here in the U.S., this British story reveals truths that can affect us all the same: the critical importance of consistency and repetition when it comes to teaching our kids oral hygiene, for example.

At Lori Lemire Family Denistry, we suggest that parents start teaching their children oral hygiene when they cut their first tooth. Show your child both by example and through supervision the proper ways to brush, when, and how often to clean your teeth.

We’re here for you.

If you’re embarking on a journey of oral hygiene with your child, please don’t hesitate to ask us next time you or your child are at our office. We are more than happy to help with these and all steps on the road to great oral health; that’s why we’re your favorite family dentist in Coos Bay!

Photo Credit: Spirit-Fire via Compfight cc

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