The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) and the Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA) announced a new collaborative effort to reduce tooth decay among children statewide, especially those in low-income families.
Tooth decay, a preventable disease, is five times more prevalent than asthma in American children and seven times more common than hay fever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent oral health report noted that, for the first time in 40 years, the number of preschoolers with cavities increased.
Early examination and identification of high-risk children by a dentist followed by appropriate intervention, such as fluoride varnish or treatment of small cavities, combined with education of parents and caregivers can prevent dental disease and significantly reduce the long-term costs and pain associated with undiagnosed decay.
Here are tips to help prevent early childhood cavities:
- Before teeth appear, gently wipe a baby’s gums and mouth with a clean, warm cloth after feedings and before bed.
- Only put breast milk, formula, milk or water in baby bottles.
- Children should start drinking from a cup by 12-14 months.
- Give milk or water only in a sippy cup between meals.
- Beginning with appearance of the first tooth, brush baby teeth twice a day with a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush.
- A child should visit the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or by age 1.
WIAAP and WDA are encouraging their pediatrician, dentist and dental hygienist members to regularly conduct oral health examinations of infants and young patients in their practices, to apply fluoride varnish during early childhood checkups and to educate parents and pregnant women on the importance of good nutrition and daily oral hygiene practices for all family members.
For more information, call 920-560-5624, visit WIAAP.org