One lucky baby has been given a head start to oral health
Rebecca Ivanochko, the daughter of Jessica and John Ivanochko was the first Moose Jaw baby born in April and was acknowledged with a gift basket full of dental goodies from the Five Hills Health Region’s (FHHR) dental health promotion program.
Rebecca was given the gift basket to promote April’s National Oral Health Month. The gift is meant to encourage the parents to take care of their children’s oral health from day one.
Jennifer Pituley, a dental health educator for FHHR said the recommended age to first bring your child to the dentist used to be three years old, but now Health Canada and the World Health Organization recommend bringing in your child by their first birthday.
Pituley said parents can help their children by taking care of themselves.
“It’s just as important to have a healthy mouth as a parent because cavities and the bacteria that cause cavities and oral disease, we are not born with it — we get that from our caregivers,” explained Pituley. “ So it’s very important to have a clean mouth as a caregiver so we don’t pass on a lot of that bacteria.”
The first step to having a healthy mouth is by cutting back on sugar
“The worst dental habit is our frequency of sugar intake is too high,” said Pituley. “It’s not the amount of sugar we are eating but it’s the frequency in which we eat or drink that sugar.”
Sipping on a drink of pop consistently throughout the day, or giving a child a sippy-cup full of a sugary drink, which they can suck on for many hours during the day, can cause a huge risk of tooth decay.
Pituley recommends having designated eating and snacking times for toddlers, children and adults.
“It’s those in between times where we need to give our mouths a break,” Pituley said, before adding even milk and crackers will damage our teeth. “If it’s not water, it has sugar in it and it can cause cavities.”
In a 2008-2009 FHHR study, Pituley said nearly 50 per cent of the children in the region had experienced cavities in their mouth at some point. Despite the disappointing numbers, Pituley said cavities are 100 per cent preventable.
“By brushing and flossing we lower the amount of bacteria on our teeth and on the surfaces,” said Pituley. “Therefore we lower the amount of acid that can be formed as well.”