Welcome to the Kankakee County Health Department
FEBRUARY is National Children's Dental Health Month
Tooth decay (dental caries) affects children in the United States more than any other chronic infectious disease. Untreated tooth decay causes pain and infections that may lead to problems; such as eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
The good news is that tooth decay and other oral diseases that can affect children are preventable. The combination of dental sealants and fluoride has the potential to nearly eliminate tooth decay in school-age children.
Statistics on Childhood Caries
Although dental caries (tooth decay) is largely preventable, it remains the most common chronic disease of children aged 5 to 17 years - 4 times more common than asthma (42% versus 9.5%). (Link)
According to the CDC
28% of children ages 2-5 have already had decay in their primary (baby) teeth
50% of children have experienced tooth decay by age 11
68% of 19 year olds have experienced tooth decay in their permanent teeth. More than two-thirds!
Low income children are twice as likely to experience decay than children of higher income families
52,000,000 school hours are lost each year due to dental disease
To see the percentage of 3rd graders in your state with caries experience, see the CDC list here.
What Parents and Caregivers Can Do
Here are some things you can do to ensure good oral health for your child:
- Encourage your children to eat regular nutritious meals and avoid frequent between-meal snacking.
- Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste. If your child is less than 7 years old, put only a pea-sized amount on their toothbrush.
- If your drinking water is not fluoridated, talk to a dentist or physician about the best way to protect your child’s teeth.
- Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants. They protect teeth from decay.
- If you are pregnant, get prenatal care and eat a healthy diet. The diet should include folic acid to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord and possibly cleft lip/palate.
Check out the following websites for more tips on children’s oral health:
- Infant Formula and Fluoridated Water. This page answers frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about mixing infant formula with fluoridated water.
- Brush Up on Healthy Teeth. This is a health education campaign including a Brush Up Quiz for Parents, Tip Sheet, and Poster.
The Kankakee County Health Department believes that it is the right of all citizens to have access to a broad continuum of community-based services that protect, maintain and promote the bio-psycho-social health and well-being of the community, and provide a safe and healthy environment.
The department continually assesses the health needs and resources available, promotes development of appropriate needed programs and assures that quality services are acceptable, available, accessible and accountable. These services are delivered in a manner that respects individual and community dignity, values and rights as well as established federal, state and local standards.
Adopted March 6, 1995