The benefits of a healthy smile are more than you think!

On an elementary school ski trip my bestie had her front tooth broken off by a wayward t-bar chair lift. Three things were learned that day and the days that followed; finding a broken tooth in the snow is impossible; exposed nerves don’t like winter air; and while waiting for the tooth to be repaired, my normally chipper (pun intended!) and fun-loving friend did not smile and missed school.

Portrait of Primary Schoolboys and Schoolgirls Standing in a Line in a Classroom

Today I am a public health nurse and a lot of my work involves helping kids meet their potential. Healthy eating, exercise, caring adults and friends all work together to help toward this goal. Oral health is an important part of this and we need to take care to keep a healthy smile. Dental injury or the development of cavities cannot be ignored as our oral health affects overall health and well-being.

Unfortunately, more children than we realize have oral health problems and cavities are the leading cause of day surgery for children 1-5 years old.

This speaks to the parent in me.

Did you know that poor oral health affects learning, growth and development?

Oral pain by injury or tooth decay can affect speech development, the ability to eat and can even affect mental health. A child in pain can appear to be distracted or uninterested in the classroom. They may miss school. If left unchecked, learning and grades can be affected.

While we cannot do much to prevent accidental tooth loss on a ski hill, we can take measures to keep our mouths healthy.

There are small changes that we can make every day to make big differences to help prevent tooth decay and the resulting pain and discomfort for your child.

  • Brush teeth two times per day, morning and night
  • Spend two minutes brushing each time with help from an adult until the age of 7 years
  • Floss daily
  • Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
  • Choose a healthy diet and limit sugary drinks and sticky candy
  • Visit a dental professional regularly

Finally, dental care can be expensive but thankfully there are free dental programs and services available to help.

For more information about your child’s dental health, or to share your own tips:

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Nicole O'Donnell, RN

Hi! I have been working as a nurse supporting children and their families in acute care, clinic settings and now in public health for over 20 years. As a mother of 4 girls I am walking the walk and talking the talk – from early elementary to high school; life is never dull! I am so thrilled to be connecting with all of you and look forward to sharing this parenting journey together!
This entry was posted in kindergarten, Mental Health, Oral Health, Parenting, Physical Health, Preschool, School-aged Children, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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