The American Dental Association (ADA) designates every February as Children’s Dental Health Month. The observance helps to promote children’s oral health for caregivers, teachers, and others who work with kids.
This year’s theme is “Water: Nature’s Drink.” The theme highlights the importance of drinking water over sugary beverages to keep teeth healthy. On their MouthHealthy.org website, the ADA explains that water, particularly water with fluoride, can strengthen teeth and help to prevent tooth decay. In addition, water is a low-calorie drink that keeps your mouth clean and fights dry mouth. The necessity of this year’s theme is evidenced by a study conducted by JAMA Pediatrics, in which 20% of 8,400 children observed reported not drinking any water. Those children typically consumed almost twice as many calories and more sugary beverages like soda and fruit drinks.
Promoting Orthodontic Health in Children
In addition to drinking water to keep teeth healthy, the American Association of Orthodontists also suggests helping your child avoid potentially harmful habits like prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use. Some common orthodontic problems caused by prolonged thumb sucking and/or pacifier use include:
- Protruding front teeth, sometimes referred to as “buck” teeth.
- Open bite, where the front teeth don’t meet when the back teeth are closed.
- Crossbite, where the upper teeth sit inside or behind bottom teeth.
Seeing an orthodontist from a young age can help your child correct any potentially harmful habits early and may help reduce the need for treatment down the road.
The ADA provides several resources in celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, including crossword puzzles, coloring pages and other activities. A printable reference guide is also available with 5 tips for avoiding tooth decay.
The Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, provides a number of resources for oral health. These include healthy recipes, oral hygiene tips, and books about oral health.
If you’d like to discuss your child’s orthodontic health, schedule a free consultation today!