Oral health is an important aspect to the overall health and well being of a child.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently stated recommendations on maintaining and improving the oral health of young children.
Having dental caries, also known as cavities or tooth decay, is a “common and chronic disease process with significant short- and long-term consequences. The prevalence of dental caries for the youngest of children has not decreased over the past decade, despite improvements for older children.” Therefore it is worth while to focus on prevention at an early age.
In the U.S. 24% of 2-4 year olds have dental caries. These numbers increased significantly, from 19% to 24% during 1988–1994 and 1999-2004. In addition, 53% of children 6 to 8 years of age, and 56% of 15-year-olds have experienced similar issues such as, untreated dental cavities, filled teeth, or teeth missing as a result of dental caries.
Because of these numbers, it is recommended that children have their first visit to a dentist by age one. These sentiments are also echoed by the American Dental Association and the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.
Further dietary recommendations for parents according to the AAP policy:
- Discourage putting a child to bed with a bottle. Establish a bedtime routine conducive to optimal oral health (e.g., brush, book and bed).
- Wean from a bottle by 1 year of age.
- Limit sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes.
- Avoid carbonated, sugared beverages and juice drinks that are not 100 percent juice.
- Limit the intake of 100 percent fruit juice to no more than 4 to 6 ounces per day.
- Encourage children to drink only water between meals, preferably fluoridated tap water.
Establishing an early check up when young will be key to maintaining good oral health, prevent disease, and treat diseases early.
via: CDA http://www.cda.org/news-events/academy-of-pediatrics-tackles-childrens-oral-health
Full policy statement from the AAP: http://www.pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/6/1224.full