February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, making it the perfect time to focus on getting kids started on the road to lifelong healthy smiles. CHC wants you to remember that good oral hygiene habits established early will help prevent tooth decay down the line. As a parent, you play a key role in laying the foundation for your child’s oral health success.
Start early by gently cleaning baby’s gums before their first tooth appears – try using a clean, damp cloth after feeding. Once the first tooth emerges, at around 6-10 months old, begin brushing twice daily using a smear of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Choose a soft-bristled baby toothbrush with a small head that allows you to brush all tooth surfaces gently.
Around age 3, your child can begin brushing with just a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste with your supervision to ensure proper technique. Make it fun by using a favorite song or video to keep them engaged while brushing. Establishing a consistent brushing routine sets them up for continued success.
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Along with daily brushing, providing a balanced diet low in sugary snacks or drinks prevents the bacteria that cause cavities from feeding on sugar left in the mouth. Avoid putting your baby or toddler to bed with a bottle or “sippy” cup of juice, formula, or milk, as fluids pool around their teeth overnight.
By age 1, schedule your child’s first dental visit to detect any potential issues early. Regular twice-yearly check-ups allow the dentist to apply preventive sealants and fluoride treatments. They also teach proper brushing and nutrition for healthy teeth. Dental visits help children become comfortable with the experience and understand the importance of oral wellness.
This National Children’s Dental Health Month, partner with CHC to protect your child’s smile. Consistent home care, early dental visits, and limiting sugary foods/drinks will help ensure your child’s teeth stay healthy for years to come. Empower your child to care for their teeth and visit the dentist regularly to guarantee their brightest smile possible.