February is National Children’s Dental Health Month sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA). This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and others.
Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, and yet it is one of the most preventable diseases of childhood.
How Do You Protect Your Child’s Teeth From Cavities?
The healthy habits we learn when we are young tend to stick with us throughout life, that’s why it’s crucial to introduce children to brushing and flossing their teeth at an early age.
Even before your baby has teeth, help them get accustomed to the idea of oral care. You can do this by gently cleaning their gums with moist gauze or a washcloth.
- When the first tooth appears, you should begin brushing it for your child.
- While taking care of their teeth and gums is non-negotiable, it doesn’t have to be drudgery.
- Let your child pick out his own toothbrush and toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Fluoride toothpastes come in a variety of flavors and colors for children and makes the experience much more pleasant for little mouths.
Have Fun For Four Minutes Every Day
Don’t just set a timer to make sure they brush twice a day for two minutes each time! Get creative so that brushing their teeth is enjoyable. Here are some tips to help make brushing and flossing fun.
- Turn on a favorite song that is at least 2 minutes long
- Try reading a 2-minute story using all your best voices.
- Set the example! Make it part of your routine to brush and floss after breakfast and dinner with your children, this will reinforce the idea that dental care is for everyone.
- After brushing, make sure to floss once a day (preferably at night). Tooth decay-causing bacteria linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach.
Reward Good Brushing Behavior
- Make a reward chart and let your child add a sticker after each successful brushing and flossing session.
- Let your child pick out the bedtime story.
- Be sure to compliment your child when doing a good job in caring for their teeth. “I’m so proud of you”, goes a long way.
Establish Patterns of Proper Nutrition
It’s important for children to understand that brushing and flossing, along with a healthy, low-sugar diet can play a big role in having a healthy mouth.
- Pack lunches and snacks for school that include fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and whole grains.
- Drink lots of water instead of sugary juices or soda.
- Make sure you model this behavior by eating and drinking the right things too!
Regular Dental Appointments Every Six Months Are Essential
Dr. Angela S. Evanson, DDS is a dentist for your whole family, however, she completed a pediatric mini-residency at the University of the Pacific Dental School and is specially trained to help children with their dental needs. Regular dental visits for prevention and treatment of oral disease will help keep your child on track not just for this month, but for a lifetime.
We’re proud to provide pediatric dental services for patients in Parker, Colorado, and the neighboring communities of Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, and Lone Tree. Please call Dr. Evanson’s office at (720) 409-0008, or contact us online to make an appointment.
Your children may not thank you now, but years down the road they’ll appreciate the important gift you’ve given them in teaching them how to have good oral health habits.Leave a reply →