Tooth decay currently is the most common chronic disease affecting children.
Untreated, it can be painful, make it hard to eat, and affect our children’s performance and attendance at school.
With healthy habits, healthy foods, and healthy rewards, tooth decay is almost completely preventable.
The Canadian Dental Association states that prevention starts at home, with good eating habits and daily cleaning of the teeth.
Brushing and flossing is important to remove plaque that contains decay-causing bacteria.
Flossing is important because more than one-third of teeth are not cleaned after brushing alone.
It also is important to have your teeth checked at least once a year so that dental health problems can be detected early and treated successfully.
Our children are growing up in a world where convenient, less nutritious foods often are an easy solution for busy families, and many children are rewarded with sweets and candy.
In addition to bacteria, sugar needs to be present in order for tooth decay to begin.
In moderation, sugar eaten at mealtimes is less likely to cause tooth decay because the saliva flow is greater.
When rewarding children, a small prize such as a sticker or a fun activity is much better than something with a lot of sugar.
April is Dental Health Month. This year, our S.O.S. (“Save our Smiles”) promotion will focus on raising dental health awareness.
To learn more, visit your local Northwestern Health Unit office or our website at www.nwhu.on.ca