WACO TX — Supported by the American Dental Association and doctors across the nation, February, National Children's Dental Health Month, is used to raise awareness of common issues plaguing children's oral health.
Alarming statistics recently published have dentists across America advocating for better oral hygiene practices for their youngest patients.
One in five children suffer from chronic tooth decay, a stat contributing to the staggering 20 percent of elementary age children with at least one untreated cavity.
"Anything you can do to get them use to us, use to the sounds and everything else, the better its going to be when we start cleaning their teeth" exclaimed Britney Lane, a Registered Dental Hygienist and mother to a toddler.
"If you're not brushing or flossing [baby teeth], they can still get cavities they can still get infections" said Lane.
Dental health care professionals advise parents to acclimate children to dental offices as early as possible, advising children be brought to the dentist for their first check up within six months of their first tooth eruption.
"Have their first several visits, if not all of them, good experiences, we don't want to wait until there's a problem or issue" advised Cathy Cook, a Registered Dental Hygienist with nearly two decades of experience.
Cook explained one of the most common question she hears from parents is 'when do I bring my child in for their first visit?' she says she tells parents within six months of their child's first tooth, further explaining that the majority of these initial visits is simply to make the child comfortable with the sights and sounds of a dental office, as well as to educate parents on how best care for child oral health.
Professionals explain a misconception of baby teeth is that they act differently than adult teeth, but the operate the same, holding the same importance to a child's well being.
Lane explained baby teeth are actually more prone to cavities because there's a smaller amount of enamel protecting their root.
Professionals concluding regular cleanings and check ups, as well as a consistent oral health routine are best practices for your little ones.
"So anything you can just do to get them ready for us, make it sound fun and we try to make it fun as well" said Lane.