February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a great time to begin solidifying positive dental health habits! When children are especially young, it is crucial to educate them on how to properly care for their teeth to prevent future health issues. Bad dental habits could mean tooth loss, disease and orthodontic interventions among other health concerns.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- One in five kids will have untreated tooth decay by the time they turn nineteen years old.
- Tooth decay interferes with learning, nutrition and a child’s ability to communicate due to the associated pain.
- Kids with poor oral health miss more days of school and bring home lower grades than kids with good oral health.
- Dental sealants prevented approximately 80% of cavities in the permanent molars two years following placement.
In order to prevent children’s dental health issues, proactive care is important. In other words, to prevent issues like cavities and gum disease it is best to be vigilant and active in your child’s dental health care. Here are some tips to ensure that your child maintains healthy oral hygiene:
- Ask your child’s pediatric dentist about dental sealants to prevent cavities.
- Supervise teeth brushing and flossing to ensure that your child is using the proper techniques to clean all of the tooth’s surfaces.
- Limit sugary snacks and drinks—bacteria thrive on sugar.
- Ask your pediatric dentist about fluoride varnish and using fluoridated toothpastes; certain kinds of toothpaste may not be suitable for infants.
- Visit a pediatric dentist before your child turns the age of one & ensure that they visit the dentist for a check-up every six months.
Children under the age of six should have a parent or guardian brush and floss their teeth for them before they have the motor skills and knowledge to do it themselves. Once a child reaches the age of six, they can brush their own teeth, but it is recommended that they have an adult to supervise them. When a parent or guardian brushes the child’s teeth for them in front of a mirror, the child can watch and see what the parent is doing. This helps to teach the child the proper techniques when brushing and flossing their teeth to ensure they are being thorough. We understand that children may not find their daily oral health routine fun, here are some tips to making this easier:
- To ensure that your child is brushing their teeth for the recommended duration of two minutes, it can be fun to play a two-minute song. When the song is over, that’s when they’ll know to stop! Click here for a fun, kid-friendly playlist for brushing teeth!
- If your child has trouble remembering to brush their teeth, leave post-it notes to remind them on the bathroom mirror, and/or dresser.
- Toothpastes that are made for kids often come in a variety of fun flavors! Have them pick the toothpaste they find fun.
Advanced Children’s Dentistry provides an educational and fun experience for all of our little patients! Our pediatric room is filled with toys and a TV to help keep anxious kids distracted. We offer nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas” to further ease fear. For little patients that need more than nitrous, we have an on-site anesthesiologist. Schedule your child’s pediatric dental appointment at 516-758-KIDS.
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