Many people may not think of tooth decay as an infectious disease, but it is. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the number one chronic infectious disease affecting U.S. children. Why are preventable cavitieson the rise? Much has to do with children not learning good oral health habits.
Juice boxes, water bottles, sugary bedtime treats, and an overall dislike for brushing may be the culprits, says the The New York Times, who have reported (along with other major media) on the shocking number of preschoolers who have 6-10 cavities.
Another reason kids today spend so much time in the dentist chair? The parental attitude that "baby teeth are temporary." This has resulted in a lack of establishing early oral hygiene habits in young children.
There is a line of interactive apps and eBooks that aim to change that. ‘Luca Lashes’ was created to help kids (ages 0-4) through fearful firsts, like the first dentist visit and learning how to brush their teeth.
Authors Nicole and Damir Fonovich created them to help their own son establish a healthy oral hygiene routine early on so he could avoid the health issues that stem from poor oral health as we age.
"Many parents say toddler teeth are not real teeth, and thus do not need as much attention as their permanent teeth," says Damir. "Children need as many good examples and practice with good behavior as possible. Establishing healthy habits as a toddler should carry on to healthy habits for a lifetime."
The "Luca Lashes" series is a multilingual (English, French, Italian, Spanish, and soon, Chinese) collection of eBooks and interactive apps (age 0–4) that turns “fear of firsts” into fun. The series was inspired by the authors' son and their desire to help him be brave in all his childhood discoveries: the first swimming lesson, first plane ride, first trip to the dentist, first haircut, and so on.
These apps/eBooks follow Luca as he (and his parents) conquers fearful firsts, from brushing his teeth to visiting mommy in the hospital. A parent's section at the back of each book highlights key teaching concepts and offers questions parents can use to prompt learning opportunities. The suggestions are also posted on the Luca Lashes YouTube channel.
Although Dental Health Month is ending in this week here are two helpful videos to encourage good oral health habits in children:
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