Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brush Up On Brushing!

How should you care for your children's teeth? Here are a few tips to help you brush up on oral care!
  • Children and adults should brush for two full minutes at least twice daily and floss every day. Parents should supervise or assist with brushing and flossing their children's teeth to ensure proper technique.
  • Children should visit the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts.
  • Clean your baby's gums with a soft cloth or infant style brush. You should also clean off the pacifier with water and only use water in sippy cup at bedtime. Never give your baby a bottle of milk at bedtime after teeth have erupted.
  • Toss the toothbrush after three months of use.

courtesy of Delta Dental Plans Association

OAK BROOK, IL (September 24, 2009) – Most American children don’t see their family dentist until they are well over 2 years old, far later than is recommended by both dental and medical professionals.

That’s one of the key findings from a survey[1] of American children’s oral health, conducted on behalf of Delta Dental Plans Association, the nation’s leading dental benefits provider. Delta Dental commissioned the survey to gain greater knowledge about the state of children’s oral health.

The survey of primary caregivers revealed that, for those children who had seen a dentist – and 34 percent had not – the average age at the initial visit was 2.6 years. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts.

Importance of Primary Teeth Not Recognized

Among children who have never visited the dentist or who have not seen a dentist in the last 12 months, the most mentioned reason (62 percent) was that “the child is too young” or “doesn’t have enough teeth yet.” Lack of insurance coverage was cited by 12 percent of the caregivers.

According to the AAPD, it is very important to keep primary teeth in place until they are lost naturally. “Baby” teeth:
· Help children chew properly to maintain good nutrition.
· Are involved in speech development.
· Help save space for permanent teeth.
· Promote a healthy smile that helps children feel good about the way they look.

The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that care for a child’s gums should begin at birth. According to the Delta Dental survey, 35 percent of caregivers clean their baby’s gums just a few times a week, or less.

Caregivers should gently wipe the baby’s gums with a soft, wet cloth after each feeding. When primary teeth begin to appear, they should be cleaned with a soft, child-sized toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of children’s toothpaste, twice a day.

“Many Americans don’t understand how important their children’s baby teeth are to lifelong oral health,” said Jed J. Jacobson, DDS, MS, MPH, chief science officer and senior V.P. at Delta Dental. “There’s a continuing need for more education to teach practices that will ensure lifelong oral health. And, since people overwhelmingly prefer the dentist and dental hygienist as their primary oral health information sources, dental benefits that encourage visits to the dentist are crucial.”

The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association ( based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading national network of independent dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to more than 54 million Americans in more than 89,000 employee groups throughout the country. In 2007, Delta Dental formed a partnership with the National Head Start Association to help improve the oral health of the nation’s children at a critical time in their development.

[1] Morpace Inc. conducted the 2009 Delta Dental Children’s Oral Health Survey. Random 15-minute telephone interviews were conducted nationally with 914 primary caregivers of children from birth to age 11. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of error is ±3.2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Expert Bio

Jed J. Jacobson, D.D.S., M.S., M.P.H.
Senior Vice President, Professional Services, and Chief Science Officer
Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana

Dr. Jed J. Jacobson is the senior vice president of Professional Services and chief science officer of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. In this position, Dr. Jacobson oversees the administration of Professional Review and Professional Relations, and directs the Delta Dental Research and Data Institute, which is dedicated to the application of scientific evidence to improve dental plan design. Dr. Jacobson is an expert in dental research whose areas of focus include the linkage between oral and systemic health and the cost-effectiveness of dental services. Prior to joining Delta Dental in 2001, Dr. Jacobson was an associate professor, assistant dean for community and outreach programs and interim chair of oral medicine, oral pathology and oral oncology at The University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He also served The University of Michigan School of Dentistry in a variety of academic appointments.

Dr. Jacobson has been selected by the American Dental Association (ADA) to serve as a course coordinator and instructor for the ADA’s five-year continuing education program for dentists aimed at increasing their role in the prevention and detection of oral cancer.

He is a member of the board of trustees of the American Academy of Oral Medicine. Dr. Jacobson is also a member of the American and International Associations of Dental Research, American Dental Association, Washtenaw District Dental Society, Pierre Fauchard Academy and the International College of Dentists. He serves as an advisor to the Washtenaw County College Dental Assisting Program. Dr. Jacobson was appointed in 2005 as an adjunct clinical associate professor and a member of the dean’s faculty at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Dr. Jacobson earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan Technological University, a D.D.S. degree from The University of Michigan, a master’s degree (M.S.) in oral diagnosis-radiology from The University of Michigan, and a master’s degree (M.P.H.) in health service administration from the University of California, Los Angeles. He operated general dentistry practices in Livonia and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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