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Our Miami dental practice is fully committed to helping children develop strong oral hygiene habits at an early age.  Studies show that good brushing habits, for example, significantly reduce the chances of developing serious illnesses like heart disease.  Good habits start at an early age, however.  Young children with good hygiene habits grow in to young adults with strong and healthy smiles.  But is this happening?   According to recent research, it is not.  In fact, recent research indicates that over 80% of the Los Angeles area’s children are in need of immediate dental care (i).

Comments by Dr. Ted Herrmann:

The results are in, and they are alarming.

 

Over 2,000 children of migrant or minority families in the Los Angeles area were surveyed recently by dental professionals from the University of Southern California (USC).  Of the children surveyed, over 70% had dental caries while an overwhelming 81% were in need of general dental care (ii).  This signals an overwhelming rise in substandard oral hygiene among individuals at a very early age.

 

This lack in proper hygiene is emphasized by USC Associate Dean Dr. Roseann Mulligan.  Dr. Mulligan explains that over half of the children examined already had already received fillings, crowns, or some kind of dental procedure.  Despite already having received care, about 72% were found to need additional dental work.  About 9% of children had an oral health condition that required attentive treatment within 24 hours.

 

“It is not enough to repair the destruction caused by the disease process of tooth decay,” Dr. Milligan explains.  “We must work harder at preventing it,” (iii).

Holistic Dentistry:  Proactive Prevention

Assure a Smile echoes Dr. Milligan’s words of caution.  We must work harder to spread awareness for the importance of proactive health care.  This includes oral hygiene, dietary awareness, and any other activity that contributes to increasing overall mind and body wellness.  Of course, this requires the formation of good habits.

 

Many people fail to consider that forming a new habit requires breaking an old one.  This can be extremely challenging, especially when it comes to oral hygiene.  With this in mind, we can safely say that helping young people to develop good oral hygiene habits is critical in helping them preserve their teeth for life.  The Miami Dentist Blog assembled an easy guide to help parents achieve this end, titled National Childrens Health Month.  In summary, a few tips include:

 

1) Early enforcement of good habits

Good habits start during infancy when parents clean their child’s mouth and gum area with a soft bristled toothbrush and water.

 

2) Continue enforcement

Continued enforcement of good habits is crucial in their becoming well-rooted ways of life.  This includes daily brushing, flossing, and healthy snacking.

 

3) Provide ongoing reward and punishment

Reward and punishment systems are critical in creating motivation to learn and maintain good habits.

Miami Dentistry:  Find Us on Twitter

If you are as surprised with Dr. Mulligan’s findings, message the Dentist305 Twitter account and share your thoughts!  Assure a Smile will field questions, concerns, and other thoughts on how to best approach the subject of oral hygiene.  Together, we can help spread awareness for oral and holistic health!

 

(i) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/224534.php

(ii)  See above.

(iii)  See above.

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