The American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health month, this is important because it brings together dental professionals, caregivers, parents, and teachers to give children the best start on oral health. Brushing and flossing to healthy snacks and routine dental visits, the month also includes Give Kids a Smile Day on February 6th.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry regularly recommends that children receive their first dental exam no later than one year of age to head off potential early dental problems. Kid’s dental care also depends on parents to review certain areas of prevention with their dental professional. This includes but is not limited to tooth decay, how to get your child to become familiar with his or her dental office surroundings and what effects thumb-sucking can have. For older kids, your attention should focus on the prevention of crowded teeth and healthy gums, which are both achievable by seeing a dentist at least twice a year for an oral examination and professional cleaning.
In honor of the program, the slogan for the 2020 National Children’s Dental Health Month is “Fluoride in water prevents cavities!” Cultivating good habits and discipline and adhering to regular visits to the dentist will greatly help children get a good start for lifelong well maintained and conditioned teeth and gums.
Brush up with these tips!
- The ADA recommends kids brush for two minutes, two times a day. An hourglass timer is helpful and fun to use!
- Maintain a regular routine; brush at the same time each day, before school and before bedtime.
- Don’t forget to floss! There are colorful kid-friendly tools that work well
- Visit the dentist every six months for regular cleanings and check-ups; books can help ease any anxiety around seeing the dentist.
- Give your child healthy snacks instead of sugar-laden sweets when possible and be mindful to ensure your kids brush well on days sweets are enjoyed.
- Make Brushing Fun! Add music or purchase a musical toothbrush for your child and encourage them to pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste
- Explore toothpaste options until your child finds one he or she likes; you could try a liquid toothpaste like Brushing Rinsing Toothpaste
- Some children find electric tooth brushes help combat sensory defensiveness
- There are ways to desensitize gums like giving your child crunchy foods or small pieces of ice to chew prior to brushing
- Sometimes using warm water rather than cold helps, or have your child dip the tooth brush in hot water prior to brushing
Children’s Dental Health Month is not only about our own children but all children. Did you know that, for many children in our community a tooth brush is a luxury? Some have been using the same one for years and other have never had one at all. Tooth tools are essential for nurturing healthy oral care habits, so if you are interested in donating oral care items, check out the Baby2Baby website for your nearest drop off- locations.
Baby2Baby provides children living in poverty, ages 0-12 years, with diapers, clothing, tooth paste, tooth brushes and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. In the last 8 years, Baby2Baby has distributed over 70 million items to children in homeless shelters, domestic violence programs, foster care, hospitals and undeserved schools as well as children who have lost everything in the wake of disaster. Check out Baby2Baby.org to learn more!
Despite the fact that tooth decay is almost entirely preventable, it is the most common chronic disease in children. Untreated dental disease can compromise a child’s ability to eat well, sleep well, and function well at home and at school. Of course, children need their teeth to eat properly, talk, smile and feel good about themselves. However, a child with cavities may have difficulty eating, smiling and may even have problems paying attention and learning at school because of the discomfort and insecurity associated with decaying teeth.
The good news about dental hygiene is that cavities are preventable by practicing good oral hygiene. The practices of oral hygiene listed are easy to do, but it is important to make sure children are consistently practicing good oral hygiene and begin to initiate it themselves.
- Fluoride Varnish: a high concentration fluoride coating that can be applied as soon as the first tooth appears and can prevent 33% of cavities in baby teeth.
- Brush Daily with fluoride toothpaste
- Dental Sealants: Dental sealants are a protective coating applied to chewing surfaces on teeth in the back of the mouth and prevent cavities in permanent molars by up to 81% for 2 years
- Limit frequent snacking and sugar intake.
- Complete a dental visit within the first year
Baby teeth are at risk for tooth decay as soon as they appear, so it is important to make sure you schedule a dental visit, the painful effects of tooth decay could lead to improper eating habits, impacting the child’s overall health and development.
For the entire month of February we will be offering FREE fluoride varnish for children under the age of 18, at their scheduled cleaning appointment.
Call to schedule an appointment today!