As a parent, you have the best of intentions when it comes to raising your child in as healthy a manner as possible. Unfortunately, life can get busy, and often when parents get busy, proper dental care is something that gets skipped. You might forget to remind you child to brush his or her teeth, plan on rescheduling a dental cleaning but never get around to it, or let your child get away with not flossing because you're tired of hearing the complaining.
You're not expected to be super-mom or super-dad every waking moment, but it is important to make a valiant effort to properly care for your child's teeth. These pediatric dental numbers and statistics will help inspire you to do so:
17.5%: The percent of children ages 5 - 19 with untreated dental caries.
Essentially, this means that there is slightly less than a one in five chance that your child has an untreated cavity. Since cavities have few to no symptoms until they're very severe, the only way to know if your child has a cavity is to see the dentist for a checkup. Dental caries are easily treated by filling the tooth, but if they're not treated promptly, severe tooth decay can result. You would not want your child to have to sit through a root canal or lose a tooth so early in life, so take him or her for regular checkups so that those cavities can be filled early, while they're still just a minor annoyance.
20 million: The number of children in the United States who are not covered by a dental insurance plan.
If you do not have dental insurance coverage for your child, you're certainly not alone. The up side to this issue is that because a lack of dental insurance is so common, there are many programs in place to help parents afford dental care for their children. Check with your local dentist to see if he or she offers reduced fees or payment plans for uninsured children. See if your state offers low-cost dental insurance plans through their healthcare marketplace website. Many universities also offer low-cost dental care clinics, where your child can have his or her teeth cleaned and treated by dental students for much less than the cost at a regular dentist.
51 million: The number of school hours lost each year due to dental problems.
When your child misses school, he or she is missing out on valuable learning experiences that could shape his or her future. Children have to miss school when they need cavities filled or when they're suffering from toothaches. By taking good care of your child's teeth, you can ensure that he or she misses less school due to dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. Make sure your child is brushing his or her teeth twice per day and flossing daily, as is recommended by the ADA. It's not just your child's health that depends on it -- his or her school experience does, too.
30%: The percent of children ages 6 - 11 who have dental sealants.
Dental sealants are made from resin, which is applied in the deep grooves of the back molars to prevent cavities from developing in these very cavity-prone areas. Sealants are incredibly effective at preventing cavities, especially in kids who may not do the best job brushing their back teeth. Dentists often recommend them, but some parents do not understand their importance, as only 30% of kids have them. If your dentist recommends sealants for your child's molars, take him or her up on the offer. Having sealants applied is quick and painless, unlike having that back molar removed due to decay in a few years.
Hopefully these numbers have inspired you to stay on top of your child's dental care. Your child only gets one set of adult chompers -- make sure they're cared for now so that they last a lifetime. You can click here for more info about this topic, or contact a local dental clinic.