It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month! Every February the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and developing good habits at an early age.
At Cottonwood Dental, we’re committed to helping children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. So let’s celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month 2020 by brushing up on healthy dental habits and oral care tips for babies, toddlers, and children.
Brush and Floss Regularly
Begin by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean, damp washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you can begin flossing between them.
When you’re comfortable that your child can brush on their own, make sure they continue to brush twice a day for two minutes. An hourglass timer may be helpful and fun to use!
For children under 3, brush with just a smear of fluoride toothpaste—roughly the size of a grain of rice. For children 3-6 years old, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste, and remind them not to swallow.
And don’t forget to floss daily! There are a number of kid-friendly flossers out there for small mouths and sensitive gums.
With oral health, the most important thing is establishing early habits at a young age. So help your child maintain a consistent routine, brushing and flossing at the same time each day (e.g. before school and before bedtime).
Eat Healthy and Drink Fluoridated Water
With a healthy diet, it’s much easier to keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong. Eating a variety of whole grains, low-sugar breads and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, and quality proteins are the best choices of foods for a healthy mouth.
In particular, high-fiber fruits and veggies are good for teeth—they stimulate saliva production, which helps wash away food and reduce decay-causing bacteria. Plus, dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt contain calcium and phosphate, which can help strengthen and repair enamel.
And when it comes to choosing a beverage, water is always best! Children who drink fluoridated tap water get the added benefit of stronger teeth, since fluoride makes tooth enamel more resistant to decay.
As for the foods that aren’t as good for your child’s teeth? It’s no surprise that sugary treats are at the top of this list—avoid them when possible, and make sure your child brushes well on days when sweets are enjoyed.
In addition, be sure to limit frequent snacking and sipping on sugary drinks—both of these habits can increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Visit the Dentist Every 6 Months
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time for a dental visit! The ADA recommends scheduling an appointment within six months after the first tooth becomes visible, but no later than a child’s first birthday.
This first dental visit is mainly for Dr. Giaquinto to examine your child’s mouth and check that their teeth are developing properly. It’s also an opportunity for your child to build their confidence and comfort in the dentist office environment. Plus, you’ll learn how to help your child establish good oral hygiene habits.
After the first visit, your child should see the dentist every six months for regular cleanings and checkups.
Is your child due for a dental visit? Come see us this February, Children’s Dental Health Month! And don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about your child’s oral health.
Happy Children’s Dental Awareness Month!
About The Author
Dentist at Cottonwood Dental
Dentistry is a profession that requires many layers of knowledge and training. My background encompasses three post-grad degrees along with a command of aesthetics and precision. Both of those are necessary when creating the great results that we promise our patients. Being a graduate of the University of New Mexico and Marquette University School of Dentistry has provided me with a launching point for my practice at Cottonwood Dental. My ongoing research… [Read full bio]