EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. —
During the month of April, the 412th Medical Group made a comeback with dental outreach. The big groundbreaking event took place at William A. Bailey Elementary School, Edwards Air Force Base, California. The dental clinic trained 425 children from TK to 3rd note on the relevance of good oral hygiene. Oral hygiene bags were given to students containing fluoridated toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss and activity books.
Children’s Dental Health Month usually takes place in February, but due to the pandemic from late March 2020 until now, reaching our young people has stalled. Tooth decay (caries) is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting 50% of children in middle childhood and nearly 70% in late adolescence. Gum infection (gingivitis) is common in children. Gingivitis is often caused by poor oral hygiene which leads to plaque buildup. Fortunately, most oral diseases can be prevented.
The best way to ensure your child doesn’t get cavities or gingivitis is to instill good oral hygiene habits early on. Oral health care is a job that begins even before a child has their first tooth. You can help your child get a head start on a healthy mouth and smile by wiping your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad after each feed to remove plaque and milk residue. .
In addition, parents should clean the infant’s baby teeth as soon as they arrive with a soft cloth or baby toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. You should also avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle unless it is filled with water only. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when children fall asleep with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or another sugary liquid in their mouths. It can also develop when children fall asleep while breastfeeding. The sugars in these liquids stay on the child’s teeth. By using these sugars as food, the bacteria in the mouth produce acids that attack the teeth and cause cavities.
By age two or three, you can start teaching your child proper brushing and flossing techniques. But remember that you will need to supervise brushing and flossing until age seven or eight, when the child has the dexterity to do it on their own. There are often natural gaps between baby’s teeth; therefore, you do not need to start flossing until the teeth touch each other. (This may occur first in the molar regions and you should floss your child until he is six or seven years old or until he can tie his own shoelaces).
Then you need to watch their techniques and consistency. Remember to start early and set a good example for your child by brushing your teeth, flossing, eating healthy foods, and scheduling regular dental visits for yourself.
Reference: www.ada.org and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fact Sheet