Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. For the third year in a row, Smile SBC and First 5 San Bernardino are joining forces to promote healthy pediatric oral care during February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month. “Little Teeth, Big Responsibility” urges parents of young children to take their baby to the dentist by their first birthday or first tooth, because healthy baby teeth form healthy adult teeth.
According to a survey by the Center for Oral Health and Smile SBC, more than 60 percent of kindergarteners are experiencing tooth decay in San Bernardino County, but it can be prevented. Parents who emphasize brushing, flossing, healthy eating and regular dentist visits not only are protecting their child’s overall health but are setting the tone for their child to have lifelong positive oral health habits.
“People don’t think much about their baby’s first teeth or worry about getting a fidgety toddler to brush, but parents of the very young should not underestimate the importance of healthy baby teeth,” said First 5 San Bernardino Executive Director Karen Scott. “Parents are the ones in charge of their children’s oral health, and it’s never too early to start protecting their smiles. When a young child has healthy teeth and gums, it stays with them for a lifetime.”
Baby teeth are temporary, but they impact future oral health. Baby teeth help children chew correctly, speak properly and form healthy adult teeth. Little Teeth, Big Responsibility provides pediatric dental health information and resources to San Bernardino County parents and caretakers with young children.
Bonnie Flippin, program coordinator of San Bernardino County Department of Public Health’s local oral health program, Smile SBC, says finding a free or low-cost local dentist is easy on their “Find a Dentist” page on the SmileSBC.org website. Information about medical insurance enrollment and transportation assistance services are also available on the “Find a Dentist” page.
Visit SmileSBC.org to find a dentist near you and for more information on protecting your child’s oral health. Additional campaign information, including a partner toolkit and oral health resources can be found at First5SanBernardino.org/OralHealth.