12 Children’s Oral Health Facts

by | Mar 8, 2020 | Pediatric Dentistry

As parents, we want nothing more than to protect our children. Their smiles are just one feature we have to make sure it is taken care of properly. From instilling good habits at home to going to the dentist every six months, many of these things we know we should be doing. Not having good at-home habits, or missing dentist’s appointments can leave lasting impressions on kids and shape how they will care for their teeth during adulthood.

If you’ve been curious about your child’s oral health, we are delighted to share some interesting facts you might not know. Remember that starting early is always the best thing for the health of your youngster’s teeth and gums. Ultimately good oral care practices will maintain a healthy smile.

Hands holding the letters for "facts"

Here is our top 12 facts about children’s oral health

When you look in your little one’s mouth, you may be surprised to see all the tiny teeth crammed in such a small space. For some kids, teeth will start to sprout one right after the other, while some children take a little longer. However, most teeth erupt on a timeline and in the same order. Take a look at some interesting facts we’ve collected and see if any surprise you or perhaps didn’t know.

The longer your child keeps their primary teeth, the better

While your child’s friends might seem to be losing their baby teeth at a rapid pace, this is one race you don’t want your kid to win. Keeping the primary teeth in for as long as possible has proven to be the best thing for a growing child. Teeth will erupt when they are ready, but losing a tooth too soon can spell disaster, the biggest being a bad bite.

Cavities are often left untreated

As mentioned above, keeping baby teeth healthy is critical for long-term dental success. However, cavities and other dental problems are often neglected when a kid is under the age of 18. The thought is that either the problem will go away as they get older, or whatever is affecting the baby teeth will disappear as the permanent teeth arrive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Caring for the primary teeth establishes habits that will carry through for a lifetime.

girl at dental visit

Your child should visit the dentist by the time they are one or get the first tooth

There has always been some debate about when a child should see the dentist. Most dentists, along with the ADA, agree that kids should see a dentist by the time their first tooth comes in or by age one, whichever is first. This sets the stage for good oral health care habits early on.

Sports are the leading cause of dental injuries in kids

Kids play rough. This is just a fact of life. Whether they are in organized sports or just playing soccer with their buddies in the backyard, accidents can happen. Teeth can get knocked out, chipped, or cracked. Most of these things can be repaired if you get to the dentist quickly. A knocked-out tooth may still be salvageable. If the tooth is still intact, keep it moist and wrapped in a paper towel while you call the dentist.

Half of all 8-year-olds have visible tooth decay

This might be a sad fact, but it’s nonetheless true. Kids eat a ton of stuff they probably shouldn’t. There is too much sugar, from drinks and foods that can lead to tooth decay. If you pair a sugary diet with failure to brush and floss, there is a recipe for cavities. While kids do need some of the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins from fruit, cleaning after can keep teeth and gums in great shape.

75% of kids will need orthodontics

Bad bites are a common theme among kids. Just take a look at a third-grade class, and you’ll see that a majority have alignment problems ranging from moderate to severe. While some of these issues may resolve as they grow, a staggering 75% will need braces to correct.

Fact #7: Oral health care isn’t expensive; most children’s cleanings are under $200

Most offices make getting kids the preventative care they need more accessible. Prices for necessary exams and cleaning run, on average, $127 in the United States. There are also many programs that can help reduce the cost even further.

variety of juices can be bad for child's oral health

Too much juice is bad for your child’s teeth

Juice contains more sugar than you might realize. Juice can have more sugar than a standard can of soda. Think about limiting the amount of juice you give your child. A wiser choice would be to opt for Almond milk, milk, or the best option, water.

4 out of 5 kids go to the dentist

Here is a fact we can be happy to share. 4 out of 5 kids go to the dentist regularly. Though we would love to see that a five out 5, the averages have gone up in recent years. The hope is that one day every kid will have access to cleanings, exams, and the dental treatment needed to keep their smiles healthy.

More than ¾ of children don’t brush twice daily

Brushing twice daily is critical for getting rid of bacteria that can lead to cavities. Good habits start with the parents staying on top of children and instilling the importance of brushing and flossing. Every night before bed brush, before school brush. Make it part of the routine. Before you know it, your kid will be doing it all on their own. (Without you having to ask!)

The sooner a child sees the dentist, the less dental anxiety.

Children that start visiting their dentist regularly, earlier in life, tend to have less anxiety about going as they get older. Dental anxiety is a real thing, and every interaction a child has with the dental office must be a positive one.

All baby teeth arrive by 2 ½, and most adult teeth are in by 13.

It may be hard to believe, but your baby will have all of his or her primary teeth by the time they are two and ½. It can also seem like a blink of an eye that by the time they are 13, they would have lost all the primary and replaced with all 28 adult teeth.

Stephen Nozaki

Stephen Nozaki

Dr. Stephen Nozaki is the owner and lead dentist at Image Dental in Stockton, CA. He has received his training at California State University and Loma Linda University, then completed his fellowship with the International Dental Implant Association. Today, Dr. Nozaki specializes in same-day crowns and dental implants. He is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), San Joaquin Dental Society (SJDS), as well as a diplomate with the International Dental Implant Association, which allows him to always stay current with the most current information and training on these procedures.

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