February is Children’s Dental Health Month!
Starting good habits at a young age helps set healthy habits for life. Good oral care at home and regular dental appointments, especially during tooth development, makes it less likely for children to suffer from tooth decay and other oral health problems.
It is beneficial for a child to start seeing the dentist six months after their first tooth erupts. There are many benefits to having children seen early on for a dental exam. A Dentist can evaluate for decay, demonstrate proper home care to parents, discuss habits such as thumb sucking and pacifier use, as well as diet. The dentist can assess the need for dental fluoride application to prevent tooth decay.
It is important for children to practice good home care habits such as brushing and flossing effectively and to limit sugary foods and drinks. Sugar in foods and drinks have acid which attack our teeth if they are left on tooth surfaces for more than twenty minutes. Healthy foods and water are better options for a child than juice and sweet, sticky, sugary foods.
Fluoride is crucial for tooth development as it is a natural mineral in most water sources that keep teeth strong and protects teeth against decay. Children who drink tap water with the recommended level of fluoride are less likely to develop cavities than children who do not drink fluoridated water. However, there are other sources of fluoride that can be provided to children such as anticavity toothpaste, mouth rinse, and a fluoride application at the dental office.
Sealants are another preventative option to help protect a child’s teeth from decay. Sealants fill in the grooves on chewing surfaces of teeth where toothbrush bristles cannot clean effectively.
Contact us for more recommendations on how to keep your child’s teeth healthy!
American Dental Association. 2015. “Your Child’s Teeth: Helpful Tips for Parents and Caregivers.”