21 February 2020
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and is used to increase awareness of oral health, promote good oral health habits, and spur advocacy for those suffering from oral health-related problems.
On St Helena, the staff of the Dental Clinic would like to take this opportunity to promote the subject of children’s dental health and are keen to encourage children of all ages to attend for routine dental visits.
When should children start attending the dentist?
It is a good idea for children to attend the Dental Clinic for check-ups every six months from the age of six months. This not only allows for young children to get used to coming to the dentist, but it also gives the Dental team the chance to pick up any potential problems early – we don’t just fill teeth but we provide dietary advice, toothbrush instruction and fluoride varnish applications to prevent cavities from forming in the first place.
What happens on school dental visits?
All schools on St Helena are visited by the Dental team, Primary schools every six months and Prince Andrew School yearly. This gives the Dental team an opportunity to see every child of school age on the Island. With parental consent, the Dental team provides dental examinations, gives advice regarding caring for their teeth and can apply fluoride varnish if required.
Why is fluoride varnish applied to teeth?
Coating teeth with fluoride varnish is a simple procedure which has the effect of making the enamel of teeth more resistant to tooth decay. Research has shown that teeth coated with varnish every six months develop up to 46% fewer cavities than those that are not protected with the varnish. The varnish is harmless and can be applied on school dental visits for those children whose parents have given permission.
Top tips for healthy teeth:
- Brush teeth thoroughly twice a day
- Avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar, including sweets
- Avoid fizzy drinks, even those with low or zero added sugar as the acids in fizzy drinks cause irreversible damage to teeth
- Visit the dentist every six months.
#StHelena #NCDHM #TinyTeeth
21 February 2020