By Nader Rastgoftar, DDS, Dental Director and General Dentist at Health Partnership Clinic
Did you know that cavities (tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five (20 percent) children aged five to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. The percentage of children and adolescents aged five to 19 years with untreated cavities is twice as high for children from low-income households (25 percent) compared with children from higher-income households (12 percent).
June is Oral Health Month, and it is a perfect time to remind parents about the importance of brushing and flossing. These two steps can limit cavities and keep children smiling.
Poor oral health can have a detrimental effect on children’s quality of life, their performance at school, and their success later in life. Cavities are preventable and ensuring that students have the preventive oral health services they need in school is important in helping them stay healthy and ready to learn.
School-Based Portable Dental Care
At Health Partnership Clinic, we provide school-based portable dental care to Title One schools in Olathe and Shawnee Mission School Districts and Head Start programs. In these locations, we see children who don’t have a dental home or have not seen a dentist in more than a year. We provide dental screenings and sealants. Dental sealants prevent cavities for many years. Children aged six to 11 without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children without sealants.
If we identify issues such as cavities, we schedule an appointment at our Olathe clinic for follow up. In addition to the check up, we also educate students about how to brush and floss. Our dental team, which includes a dental hygienist and dental assistant, do a fantastic job in engaging children and reminding them about the importance of oral health. Our school partners believe we play a key role in their children’s school success!
With summer just around the corner, parents need to make sure their children are practicing good oral health at home. Be sure to watch your children brush their teeth!
Here are some tips on how to prevent tooth decay:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Preferably, brush after each meal and especially before going to bed.
- Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental cleaners, such as the Oral-B Interdental Brush.
- Rinse daily with a fluoride-containing mouthwash. Some rinses also have antiseptic ingredients to help kill bacteria that cause plaque.
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacks. Avoid carbohydrates such as candy, pretzels and chips, which can remain on the tooth surface. If sticky foods are eaten, brush your teeth soon afterwards.
- Check with your dentist about using supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth.
- Ask your dentist about dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars) to protect them from decay.
- Drink fluoridated water. At least a pint of fluoridated water each day is needed to protect children from tooth decay.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
To learn more about our dental services, visit the dental services page on our website.