In honor of February serving as National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, an authority on children's oral health, invites parents and caregivers to fight the leading chronic infectious disease among children in the United States: tooth decay, also known as the Mouth Monsters.
As "The Big Authority on Little Teeth," AAPD recommends parents and caregivers fight tooth decay during NCDHM by following these three steps:
1. Establish a dental home – or home base – for your child's oral health care by finding a local pediatric dentist.
2. Help your child develop healthy oral habits early by brushing as soon as the first tooth appears and explaining tooth decay in kid-friendly terms.
3. Take advantage of the resources available on mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org that will help keep little teeth healthy, including informative articles, practical tips and tools and an easy-to-use pediatric dentist finder.
"Oral health is an important part of a child's overall health and well-being – but it is sometimes overlooked in the early years," said Dr. Edward H. Moody, AAPD president and practicing pediatric dentist. "A key part of keeping little teeth healthy is regular check-ups with a pediatric dentist. National Children's Dental Health Month is a great time to schedule an appointment or to find a pediatric dental home for your child, ideally no later than the first birthday, to lay the foundation for a healthy smile for a lifetime."
Watch the video below to see the AAPD's breaking news segment on the Mouth Monsters:
Continue reading about the Mouth Monsters on Page 2 ...
The AAPD launched the Monster-Free Mouths Movement in 2014 to address the nationwide health threat that tooth decay is to the health and welfare of children in the United States. This educational campaign aims to arm parents and caregivers with important tools and information to help fight the Mouth Monsters.
As part of the launch of the Monster-Free Mouths Movement, AAPD issued the "State of Little Teeth Report" to provide an in-depth look at the current crisis state of children's oral health in America. Select key findings of the report included:
Early childhood tooth decay is serious and on the rise. A rapid form of tooth decay among very young children called early childhood caries (ECC) is the most common disease faced by children, and it's on the rise.
Early dental visits are strongly recommended, rarely made. Despite a strong consensus among experts that babies see a pediatric dentist in their first year of life, only a fraction of parents bring their children this early.
While tooth decay is mostly preventable, many parents and caregivers are unaware of how to help their children fight it. According to a survey by the AAPD, the majority of parents and caregivers were not aware of the unique expertise of pediatric dentists, who receive two to three years of specialized training beyond dental school in areas such as addressing anxiety related to dental visits that some children have, taking care of children with special health care needs, and tailoring treatment that may be needed to the specific emotional and dental needs of children.
Parents and caregivers can join the Monster-Free Mouths Movement today by visiting mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org for tips and resources, including a pediatric dentist finder and a Mouth Monster toolkit to help encourage healthy dental habits for children and to find the full "State of Little Teeth Report."