February 1 marks the beginning of National Children’s Dental Health Month, which raises awareness about the importance of oral health in children.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tooth decay is the most common chronic children’s disease in the United States, and it is also preventable. This fact makes having a month dedicated to teaching children about oral hygiene that much more important!
It is critical to help develop good habits in children while they are still babies, as they are more likely to continue those habits throughout their life.
We gathered some great tips that will help establish good oral hygiene habits in children, from infancy to toddlerhood:
- Fluoride is a mineral added to the drinking water in some, but not all, cities and towns. It is known to benefit dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, which helps prevent tooth decay. If a town or city does not have fluoride in its water, a pediatrician will be able to prescribe fluoride drops for infants or chewable tablets for older children.
- Baby teeth are still teeth that need to be cared for! Just because they eventually fall out, doesn’t mean they should be neglected. As soon as a child grows his or her first tooth, it should be brushed with very small amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
- We are here to help! Children should go to their dentist appointment by their first birthday or within six months of the first tooth’s appearance. We are happy to walk parents through tips for promoting proper oral health care in a child’s life.
- Don’t put a baby to bed with a bottle at night or at naptime unless it is filled with water. Other drinks, including milk, have sugar in them and that sugar can lead to tooth decay.
- Healthy food and drink choices aren’t just good for your body, but they are good for your teeth too! When your child begins to eat more solid foods, give them fruits and vegetables instead of candy and cookies.
- By the time a child turns 3, they can use more fluoride toothpaste; a pea-sized amount is recommended.
- As a child gets older, they will be able to start taking responsibility for their oral hygiene by brushing their own teeth.
If you have any questions about oral health care for your infant or young child, or you would like to make an appointment for them, call us at 518-798-9966.