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Healthy Smiles for Young Children

by Bobbie Rose
September/October 2013
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/healthy-smiles-for-young-children/5021386/

There's nothing more heartwarming than a young child's smile, and most adults will go to great lengths to coax a smile from a youngster. Unfortunately, many children suffer from tooth decay. Dental problems can result in missed days of school or work, expense, and pain and lead to speech, learning, and eating problems. The good news is that tooth decay is preventable. The challenge is to establish good habits for oral health before tooth decay occurs.

Primary teeth, also called baby teeth, hold the place for permanent teeth and are important for a child's overall health. They are essential for speaking and healthy eating. Most children have 20 primary teeth that begin to erupt at around 6 months of age and continue to come in until a child is around 2 years old (CCHP, 2005).

Family history, daily habits, cultural practices, fluoride in drinking water, special needs and access to dental care are all factors that can influence a child's oral health. Barriers to good ­dental health include low income, lack of dental insurance, limited access to dental care, living in rural or remote locations, language and health literacy, chronic illness, and developmental ­disabilities.

Early Care and Education (ECE) programs are in a ...

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