Despite the fact that good oral health is essential for the overall health of both mother and child, only 22 to 34 percent of women in the United States visit a dentist during pregnancy.
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Providing proper care and oral hygiene during preschool years can mean a lifetime of good oral health, according to an article in the January/February 2005 issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Research shows that children who develop cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities as an adult. So how can a parent determine if their child is at risk for cavities? It all begins with that first trip to the dentist.
The first dental visit should include an exam to determine if the child is at low, moderate or high risk for cavities and will help decide which oral hygiene program best suits them. Your dentist will be able to explain to you how often your child should be brushing, as well as provide flossing instructions for the child.
"Brushing should begin when the first tooth erupts," says lead author of the report, Jane Soxman, DDS. "Parents should be in charge of a child's brushing until the child is able to tie his or her shoes or write their own name clearly – usually 5 or 6 years of age."
Reviewed: January 2012
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