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Baby Those Baby Teeth!

Parents Hold the Key to Helping Kids Stay Cavity Free

February 04, 2015

Contact Information:
E-mail: mediarelations@ada.org (Journalists) or Contact ADA (All Others)

CHICAGO — While all children are born cavity free, statistics show that caries, the disease that causes tooth decay, is the most common, chronic childhood disease in the United States—five times more common than asthma. Yet unlike asthma, tooth decay can be prevented. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so the American Dental Association (ADA) wants to help parents and caregivers brush up on the basics of keeping kids’ mouths healthy and happy.

  • First tooth = first dental visit. When your child’s first tooth appears, talk to your dentist about scheduling the first dental visit. Treat the first dental visit as you would a well-baby checkup and continue check-ups as recommended. Remember: starting early is the key to a lifetime of good dental health.
  • There’s no such thing as “clean” spit. Cavity-causing bacteria are passed through saliva. When parents or caregivers “clean” a pacifier or use the same utensil to taste food before feeding their child, the bacteria can be passed along.
  • Three years old, going on 20! By the time children are three years old, most will have a full set of 20 baby teeth. But don’t wait till then to start brushing; begin as soon as a child’s first tooth grows in. Visit MouthHealthy.org for recommendations on how to brush at every age, including how much toothpaste to use.
  • Brushing doesn’t have to be boring. Keep a sticker chart to track and reward brushing and play two-minute long videos to help kids get into the habit of brushing for a full two minutes. Get a free, downloadable sticker chart and videos at 2min2x.org.

Each February, the ADA sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM), a national health observance that brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, other healthcare providers and educators to promote the benefits of good dental health habits to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others. This year's NCDHM campaign theme is "Defeat Monster Mouth" and features the McGrinn Twins, Flossy and Buck who are fighting to defeat Plaqster the Monster. Download fun activity sheets for kids as another fun way to teach them about good dental health.

For more information about how mouth healthy habits, please visit MouthHealthy.org, which features fun quizzes, slideshows, videos and articles about dental health topics for every age and stage of life, plus the ADA Dental Symptom Checker.

Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn.

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 159,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org