Children’s Dental Health Month: Connecting The Dots Between Oral Health And Overall Health

Jennifer E. Engen

In recognition of National Children’s Dental Health Month, CareMount Dental is working to raise awareness on the connection between a child’s oral health and their overall health. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should sign their child up for a dental visit in year one of their life when their first tooth erupts.

Babies start using their teeth as early as the first growth for breastfeeding purposes and can develop dental issues as early as their first year. As they grow older, early childhood caries (ECC) can develop which is a rapid form of tooth decay and is also the most common chronic childhood disease. According to the CDC, about 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5–11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth, and about 1 of 7 (13%) adolescents aged 12–19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Tooth decay can lead to distraction in school, poor self-esteem, and can have behavioral impacts.

Using their network of resources and insight from their renowned dentists, CareMount Dental has pulled together a few tips on how to help educate your children on the importance of oral health:

  • Establish a Dental Home – or home base – for your child’s oral health. It is recommended that a children’s first visit be at the eruption of the first baby tooth, but no later than age one. Get your child started early at a consistent care provider of choice that will help instill values in them at an early age.
  • Begin dental habits in early infancy. Begin early oral care habits prior to their first visit in infancy by rubbing the gums with a washcloth after feeding.
  • Use an age-appropriate, soft bristle toothbrush as soon as their first tooth appears. Gently, but thoroughly, brush teeth in a circular direction. Explain step by step what you are doing and why.
  • Use kid-friendly terms to describe oral care issues you are trying to prevent. If you’re trying to teach your children about tooth decay, try using the term “sugar bugs.” There are many books on the market about a first visit to the dentist.

In addition to educating your children on the importance of oral care, you can also proactively fight dental issues that may lead to more detrimental health issues down the line. In communities lacking fluoridation of water supply, prescribed fluoride supplements should be given under the supervision of your child’s dentist or physician. Additionally, applying dental sealants to chewing surfaces of children’s back teeth can also prevent up to 80% of cavities. Lastly, encouraging healthy diets and eliminating sugary drinks and snacks are effective ways of reducing the risk of dental caries.

Appointments can be made by contacting CareMount Dental directly at: 914-242-2000 or via its website at

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