By Carol Hisel: Guest Columnist
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. In 2000, the Surgeon General of the United States published a report stating that childhood dental disease is of epidemic proportions in the nation. This is a tragedy that will affect many children into adulthood.
Teeth are meant to last a lifetime. By encouraging and helping your children with their oral hygiene at a young age, you are adding to their quality of life and maybe even helping to prolong it.
Dr. Charles Mayo, the founder of the Mayo clinics, has said, “Preventive dentistry can add 10 years to human life.”
We live in a health-conscious society. People of all ages recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle. But many do not realize that good oral hygiene is also a step toward a healthier life.
The American Dental Association released recent research suggesting there may be a link between gum disease and other health problems. For example, several studies point out associations between gum disease and the development of cardiovascular problems.
There is evidence that bacteria in the mouth may be linked to heart disease, artery blockages and stroke. Additional research suggests the bacteria that cause gum disease can be a contributing factor in bacterial pneumonia and there may be an increased risk for pre-term delivery in women who are pregnant.
Also, recent studies show that gum disease in diabetics can make it more difficult to control blood sugar.
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can destroy bone and other tissues that support the teeth in people of all ages. Given the potential links between the bacteria that cause gum disease and systemic diseases, prevention of this disease is an important step in maintaining overall health.
By brushing and flossing daily you can help prevent your gums from becoming irritated by toxic agents produced by plaque bacteria. In time, plaque also can harden into tartar or calculus. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove calculus.
Regular professional examinations and cleanings are necessary to prevent gum disease.
Additionally, eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks will reduce your risk of dental disease. Limiting your exposure to the bacteria that cause gum disease will improve your overall health.
By helping your children on a daily basis keep their mouths clean, you are helping them stay healthier into adulthood. There is nothing quite as beautiful as a child’s smile, except, perhaps, a 90-year-old who smiles and still has all of their teeth!
It makes you wonder if having all of their teeth has something to do with the fact that they are still alive? Just a thought.
Carol Hisel is a registered dental hygienist and works in Clovis. Contact her at: