Kids’ Dental Health: 21st Century Style

March 8, 2019
For those of us in the Boomer-ish age range, the notions of dental health have evolved substantially; it’s anticipated we’re the first generation in which a majority will have most of our own teeth for the entirety of our lives. We grew up with parents whose childhood dental habits were shaped by the Great Depression, war and lack of product development. In a best-case scenario, they brushed their teeth with “dental powder” and sometimes just baking soda. Consequently, most of our parents were wearing dentures before they were 50.

Greater access to dental health including regular check-ups and preventative measures have greatly improved the outlook. The fluoridation of drinking water began in 1945, contributing heftily to the decrease in tooth decay in children, though there are more opinions on the Internet than we can count on the possible bad effects of ingesting fluoride from drinking water. And, while fluoride in toothpaste is universally accepted as a good way to prevent tooth decay, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that nearly 40 percent of children ages 3 to 6 used more toothpaste than recommended by dental professionals.

What’s the big deal (other than continually replacing the tube of toothpaste)?

It turns out toothpaste isn’t really “harmless,” and swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause something called, “fluorosis,” causing discoloration in children’s teeth. While not a “medical” condition per se, it does not make for pretty pearly whites. And no one wants their kid to be perceived as a “yuck mouth” (with a nod to a 1970’s Public Service Announcement promoting dental health). The flipside: poor oral health goes beyond aesthetics. Kids with decayed teeth miss more school and receive lower grades than children that do not, according to the CDC.

In light of this information, here are some easy steps to ensure your kids (and grandkids) are doing the right thing when it comes to their teeth:

How to Get Hooked on Moving MoreSpring Forward Without Messing Up Your Health

We Make Health Possible

As East Central Indiana’s population grows, we’re putting health care where people need it most. Besides Hancock Regional Hospital, ranked as one of the nation’s safest by the Lown Hospital Index, our network includes more than 30 other locations near your home or work.

Learn More about Hancock