Fluoridated water is the focus of the American Dental Association‘s (ADA’s), message for this year’s National Children’s Dental Health Month.
The slogan “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile” is featured on the ADA 2017 campaign poster as part of its effort to promote good oral health for young people and their caregivers. Decades of research have shown that an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay by at least 25 percent.
Simply by drinking water, both young and old can benefit from fluoride’s cavity protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
The ADA says the average teenage boy in the U.S. consumes 81 gallons of soft drinks a year. A steady diet of sugary foods and drinks can ruin teeth, especially for those who snack throughout the day. Common activities can also contribute to tooth decay,including habitually grazing on foods with minimal nutritional value and frequently sipping on sugary drinks.
The ADA offers these tips to reduce potential tooth decay in kids:
- Limit between-meal snacks. If kids crave a snack, offer them nutritious foods.
- If your kids chew gum, make it sugarless—chewing sugarless gum after eating can increase saliva flow and help wash out food and decay-producing acid.
- Monitor beverage consumption: Instead of sipping soft drinks all day, children should choose water or low-fat milk.
- Help your children develop good brushing and flossing habits.
- Schedule regular dental visits.
To find a qualified dentist, visit the Dental Board of California website to do a license search.
Coloring and puzzle activity sheets promoting oral health for kids are available in both English and Spanish on the ADA website.