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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
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Helping your kids avoid tooth trouble

Jan 11, 2012

Mommies and Daddies, did you know that more than 40% of children have tooth decay by kindergarten age? If you are keeping score at home, that makes it Dental Issues 1, Parents 0.

But the good news is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that dental care costs were nearly 40% lower over a five-year period for children who got dental care by age one compared to those who delay their first dental visit until after age one.  Please adjust your scorecards to Dental Issues 1, Parents 1.

Hey folks, no worries. Together we can win this thing so pull up a chair, get comfortable and let's diagram some quick  XX's and OO's dental strategy.  Below are some game-winning preventive steps to help you and your child win this toothy tussle and protect against tooth decay. 

The first bullet is something I have discussed with our kids and grand kids to remember at their family dining table:

• You’ve already shared the family’s good looks with your child, but you really should avoid sharing spoons, forks or cups between yourselves; germs that cause tooth decay can be passed from parent to child.

• Never put a baby to bed with a bottle filled with anything but water. Sugary liquids can cling to a baby’s teeth, feeding oral bacteria that can trigger tooth decay.  Pediatricians call it “baby bottle decay” and sooner or later you’ll call it expensive.

• Don't flavor pacifiers by dipping them in honey and sugar, or clean them with your mouth (ugh). I can't wait to share spicy Asian food with my grand kids, but you'll never catch me dipping their binky in General Tso sauce. And speaking of binky...

• Lose the binky after age 2 or 3. Long-term use of pacifiers can be hazardous to oral health and tooth development. For instance, sucking too strongly on a pacifier can affect the shape of the mouth and the alignment of the top and bottom teeth. Think what that could mean for their high school senior pictures! And what if those pictures went viral!!

• Cut down on sugary drinks, including soda, juice and sport drinks. Many parents consider fruit juice a healthy beverage for their kids to sip throughout the day. Aha, that's what they want you to think. Most juices are chocked full of sugar; prolonged consumption of juice in a sippy cup can nurture the development of tooth decay and lead to childhood obesity.

• Be cautious with child medications.  Some children’s medications are flavored and sugary (Thank you Mary Poppins). These meds can stick on the teeth, increasing the risk for tooth decay.  And if your child has a chronic condition such as asthma they can be susceptible to a higher tooth decay rate due to extra doses of such medications. Check with your family pediatrician about whether your child should brush more than the usual two times a day if they have a chronic condition.

• Begin brushing early. Even if your baby has just one tooth, you can begin brushing their gums with gauze. As additional teeth develop, buy infant toothbrushes with very soft bristles. Experts advise that brushing should be done twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste.

 • Schedule your child’s first dental visit by the time they are a year old.  Getting preventive dentistry at the earliest age saves money in the long haul. And saving money is always a good thing because college tuition time will be here faster than you can ask your banker, “How soon can I get a second mortgage?”

• Everyone in the house should brush twice daily and floss. Good habits are acquired early, and if kids see their parents doing what they tell their children to do, it reinforces good oral hygiene habits. Easier to instruct your child to do what you say AND what you do.

Teeth are a great thing, aren't they? None of us are born with them but we all want to keep them as long as we can.  As always, thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk.  Please email questions or comments about this article to:

Find me on Twitter at Twitter@ToothTeller

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Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC ©

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