Oral health is important for people of all ages, but especially for young children. From the time a child is born, there are things you can do to promote healthy teeth and prevent cavities. Oral hygiene should always be encouraged and practiced, especially in the early care environment. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), dental decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children. It is also one of the most preventable. While most children are taught by at least one of their early care providers to take proper care of their teeth and gums, it's crucial for continued reinforcement.
Oral health problems begin at an early age for many children. According to CDC statistics, 28 percent of children between ages 2 and 5 years have already had decay in their primary teeth (baby teeth). By the age of 11, approximately half of all children have experienced tooth decay, and by age 17 that number rises as high as 78 percent of all children. Tooth decay may result in persistent pain, speech problems, weight loss, and undernourishment. These problems can greatly reduce a child's ability to succeed in school. For some children, tooth decay can also cause psychological harm, since children with tooth decay may often feel embarrassed about their teeth. The daily pain as well as the social stigma can distract children from their most important responsibilities: play and exploration.
Bright Smiles for Children provides the basic need-to-know oral health information that is important for children. It was developed in response to teacher requests for in-depth, straightforward information on children's oral health. The simple format and informative sections will assist you in teaching the topic and working with parents.
As the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other children's organizations report, tooth decay (also called early childhood caries, or ECC) is the most common chronic children's disease in the country. As a result, it is very important that parents work with their pediatrician to establish good oral health care from the first weeks of their baby's life.
This Month's Trial Course: Oral Health in Early Childhood
CCEI16A: Oral Health in Early Childhood as an online child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of April.
Promoting proper dental hygiene and long-term care habits in early childhood should be a part of every provider's curriculum. This course addresses the importance of early and consistent oral health care for young children. Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to identify the causes and characteristics of dental decay, as well as strategies for promoting good oral hygiene in the classroom and home environments.