August is one of the busiest months of the year for many people in Birmingham, Michigan. Our kids are going back to school. That means back-to-school shopping, scheduling classes, and even scheduling extracurricular activities. But August is also the perfect month to figure out your child’s oral health. Take time this to plan out your child’s dental health plan — if you haven’t already done it. It’s important for our kids to be in good oral health before they start the school year.

Today, I have some facts about children’s dentistry that you need to consider, especially if your child is starting the school year without having visit a dentist this year. I want to teach you some statistics about children’s dentistry and let you know what your child can expect at the dentist.

1. Tooth decay is the leading chronic disease in children. To put this into perspective, your child is four times more likely to have tooth decay than problems like asthma or even hay fever. An article in the USA Today even noted that tooth decay in American children has hit epidemic proportions.

2. Nearly 50 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 11 have dental decay. This statistic goes back to the USA Today article. According to the Centers for Disease Control and PRevention, about 21 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11 have cavities in their permanent teeth. You can see why tooth decay has reached epidemic proportions in this country!

3. Only about 80 percent of children regularly visit the dentist. We’re happy to see such a big majority of young people visiting the dentist, but we can still do better. We still have millions of children in this country who do not visit the dentist regularly. That means we’re not starting all of our children off on the right foot.

4. Children in America lose 51 million hours of class instruction every year because of dental emergencies. This statistic is unsettling for a number of reasons. For one, dental emergencies are never good. Secondly, we never want to see our children miss class time because of health problems. This statistic shows me that oral health, just like poor overall health, can affect your child’s educational development, too.

5. Just 75 percent of children brush their teeth twice a day. The best way to prevent cavities and gum issues is to brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly. Again, we’re glad that a majority of children are brushing twice a day, but we still can achieve better numbers. To help keep your children’s teeth healthy, remind them to brush their teeth twice a day, and don’t let them skip flossing.

At Newingham Dental Center, we treat patients of all ages. We recommend that parents bring their children to the dentist once the first tooth appears or by the time the child is 2. Bringing your child to the dentist early in their lives reduces the risk of tooth decay, but the benefits extend much further than that. We’ve found that we can reduce dental anxiety when we see patients early in their lives. It most sense because regular visits to the dentist means fewer dental problems, which leads to more positive experiences with your dentist. No dentist wants to see patients only when they have a problem. We want to be there to tell you about your clean bill of oral health!

I hope you and your family will have a smooth start to the school year. Don’t hesitate to contact my dental office at 248-972-8720 to schedule your next visit.