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National Children’s Dental Health Month!

02/01/2017

Brush up and smile.

If you thought February was only for love and exchanging valentines, think again. Take a look in the mirror and preen everybody for a family picture. Ta-da! It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month!

The month showcases good dental care, which starts in pregnancy, becomes normal in childhood and teen years, and carries on throughout life.

In many ways, good dental health is just another healthy habit learned in childhood. It begins at home. If people do it when they’re young, they’ll do it when they’re older.

Dentist's recommendations for good dental health for children are simple: checkups twice yearly, a healthy daily diet, and daily maintenance throughout the year.

Parent should bring their children to the dentist when they come themselves, as children learn good dental habits from their parents

The checkup, literally a hands-on experience, teaches oral health care. In age-appropriate measures, a child learns to brush, floss, rinse, spit.

Always use a soft-bristle brush; there are sizes appropriate for infants, young children and teens. Get a new brush when the bristles become worn, and use fluoride toothpaste.

A checkup also teaches how to floss. Take short stretches of floss between the fingers of both hands and floss between the teeth. Go up under the gums and not just between the teeth.

To make going to the dentist twice a year a positive experience, start with the appointment time.  Appointments should be made in the morning when a child is not too tired or hungry.

 

ADA Recommendations for a Healthy Mouth throughout Childhood

During Pregnancy

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, and dairy products (milk, cheese, cottage cheese or unsweetened yogurt)
  • Eat fewer foods high in sugar like candy, cookies, cake, and dried fruit

Infants

  • Take your baby to the dentist no later than the first birthday
  • Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean washcloth
  • For children younger than 3 years, brush a child’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth; use a fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear
  • For children 3 to 6 years old, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly (twice daily, morning and night)

Teens

  • Consider using dental sealants, a special plastic coating, to protect cavity-prone areas
  • If you play a sport or are active in something like skateboarding, a mouthguard protects your teeth from getting broken or knocked out
  • Avoid cavities by brushing twice a day with toothpaste, flossing once a day, and limiting sugary beverages and snacks

 

Source: www.ada.org/en/public-programs/mouthhealthy

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