ARQUETTE — February is National Child Dental Health month and if you want to know how to keep your teeth clean then pay close attention.
In the week’s ABC 10 feature, Caylee Kirby met with a general dentist in the Marquette area to learn about why children’s oral health is so important.
Have you ever heard the saying, ‘You don’t have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep’?
Well, that saying is true and it starts when we are young.
In fact, dental professionals usually suggest that children come to the dentist for the first time when they are one year old or by the time they have their first tooth.
“It’s very important to start the child and the parents off on a good foot. Baby teeth, although we lose them, do offer lots of benefits so it’s important that we keep them healthy moving forward as the child grows,” said MCDC general dentist, Craig Kozeluh.
We lose the baby teeth anyway, so why keep them clean? Well, we may not know it but…
“Baby teeth hold space for the adult teeth as they come in, so it’s very important to not lose any of them early. It’s also important to prevent cavities, which can cause infections or other health problems,” said Dr. Kozeluh.
Take cavities, for example:
“If we do get a large cavity on a child’s tooth, it can cause an infection, it can cause pain, so it can affect their day–to–day life. If we do have to remove that tooth, it can cause a loss of space and crowding, so the child is more likely to need braces later in life or there might not be enough room for the adult teeth to come in,” said the dentist.
If you are a parent with younger children, it can be a battle to get them to brush their teeth. Some fun ways to help win the batter include using electric toothbrushes that have a two-minute timer or playing a song that is two minutes long. Even Smartphones have apps to help make brushing fun.
“We usually suggest that a parent should be helping with brushing and flossing until the child is able to tie their shoes. That’s a pretty good rule of thumb that a child has the proper dexterity and ability to brush their teeth properly,” said Dr. Kozeluh.
“We also see that children who lose teeth early in life are more likely to lose teeth later in life, so it’s really important to instill proper oral hygiene habits young, as it will carry through hopefully later in life,” said Dr. Kozeluh.