Wednesday, February 06, 2008

THE DANGERS OF ORAL DISEASE IN CHILDREN

JOAN LUNDEN TEAMS UP WITH THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS AND ORAL-B STAGES TO EDUCATE PARENTS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF
ORAL DISEASE IN CHILDREN

During February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, Celebrity Mom Joan Lunden Offers Parents Tips and Practical Advice on Children’s Oral Care


CINCINNATI, OH, FEBRUARY 1, 2008 – Television personality and best-selling author Joan Lunden has partnered with Oral-B Stages and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the preeminent professional organization of children’s health professionals, to raise awareness of the importance of children’s oral health during Children’s Dental Health Month. A 2007 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the prevalence of cavities in children ages two to five years has increased four percent from a decade ago (24 to 28 percent). In fact, almost 20 percent of children ages two to three have at least one untreated cavity.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease today, five times more common than asthma. Both the U.S. Surgeon General and Congress acknowledge that this “silent epidemic” in oral health needs to be addressed by parents and healthcare providers. The culmination of children’s dental illness in the U.S. results in a loss of 51 million school hours each year. Providing parents with resources to teach healthy oral care habits from an early age is an important step in curbing the impact of oral disease on children.

“Many of the dental-related illnesses that children develop are easily preventable, provided parents are able to establish proper oral care habits for their children, even before that first tooth comes in,” says pediatrician, David Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP. “It is important that parents speak to their pediatricians about their children’s oral health and obtain the information they need to create a proper dental routine for their children.”

Joan Lunden, a mother of seven, knows the importance of establishing dental routines for her kids. “I help my children get off to a good start by teaching them how to brush and care for their teeth, so that they can continue to have a lifetime of happy smiles and good dental health. As children grow, their oral care needs change. That’s why an important first step to those healthy smiles is to choose products that are designed for each stage of your child’s oral care development, such as Oral-B Stages,” said Lunden.

Parents can take the first step in their children’s oral health by doing the following:

• Begin oral care routine early – Parents should begin by regularly cleaning their newborn baby’s gums with a damp washcloth following feedings. When the first teeth appear, parents should begin brushing them to avoid the build-up of plaque. Avoid prolonged exposure to sugary drinks (milk, formula, juices, etc.) while the baby sleeps, as it can increase the risk of decay in the upper front teeth, also known as Early Childhood Caries.
• Selecting the right tools – Use a toothbrush with extra-soft bristles and a cushioned head, plus a non-fluoridated toothpaste until age two, when it’s safe to switch to toothpaste with fluoride. Choose products that are designed to meet children’s needs at different ages such as dentition (formation of their teeth and jaw), dexterity (ability to handle a toothbrush) and development (emotional changes and interest).
• Visit the dentist regularly – A child’s dental visit should begin when the child’s first tooth erupts, with additional visits determined by the dentist to ensure proper oral development. A good rule of thumb is first visit by first birthday. Parents should discuss their children’s oral health with the pediatrician even before the first dental visit.
• Take first steps to healthy eating – Proper nutrition is important to your child’s oral health. Foods high in sugars and starches help decay-causing bacteria make acid that destroys teeth. Choose nutritious snacks that build strong teeth and resist decay and gum disease such as veggies, fruit, yogurt and cheese.
• Make brushing fun – Brush your teeth together to set a good example. Choose toothbrushes and toothpaste with popular kids’ characters. Sing a two-minute song to your child to encourage brushing for the dentist-recommended time. Making the brushing routine fun will encourage proper habits early and help prevent oral care issues later in life.

Parents and children can learn more oral-care tips by visiting www.oralb.com/kids or www.aap.org.

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