Dental Health Week 2014: How To Avoid Early Childhood Caries
In 2012, the Australian Dental Association’s Dental Health Week campaign focused on preventing tooth decay amongst children. The campaign came after the ‘rotten’ statistic that showed by age 6, half of Aussie children will have tooth decay.
Two years later in 2014, statistics don’t seem to have improved. In the recent Colgate Cavity report, whilst 94% of Aussie parents worry over their kids having tooth decay by the age 10, half of them still believe tooth decay is inevitable.
It is important to realise that tooth decay is a completely preventable disease and that early decay can be reversed. The key, according to the ADA, is in forming good habits as early as possible, which for many of our kids might also require undoing a few bad ones on the way.
Parents are the first oral health teachers of their children so it is important to empower parents with knowledge on how to spot early signs of oral health trouble. The ADA suggests regularly lifting the upper lip of the child to check for any white patches on the teeth. White patches may be an early sign of tooth decay, and with some effort it may be possible to stop the decay from taking hold and causing a full-blown cavity. Once you spot brown or black spots make sure to seek help from your dentist as these are almost certain indications of active tooth decay.
For parents who think toddlers and babies can’t get tooth decay or that it’s OK to get tooth decay because their teeth will fall out anyway, think again! Note that as soon as the first tooth erupts, a baby is susceptible to tooth decay. Parents and carers can even transmit decay-causing oral bacteria to a child.
So how do you prevent your tots from getting tooth decay? Start good habits young! Form good cleaning habits like brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice daily. Introduce healthy foods and prevent them from snacking frequently on sugary and starchy foods and beverages such as biscuits, cereals, fruit juices.
Want to know more? Check the ADA’s Dental Health Week 2014 campaign website for wonderful resources: