February marks National Children’s Dental Health Month. This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others.
This year the ADA is asking parents and especially children to “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile” and put down those sugary drinks! While beverages like soda, energy drinks and even fruit juices may taste good – they have long term affects that can severely impact your dental health. Despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, which can be caused by drinking these sugary drinks.
Here are some easy yet important tips that parents and children alike can follow to ensure everyone in the family has healthy teeth and a reason to smile.
1. Use fluoride toothpaste
According to the American Dental Association guideline’s, it is recommended that parents use fluoridated toothpaste as soon as a baby gets her first tooth. Just use a tiny grain-of-rice-size smear at first, then go with a dollop the size of a pea starting at age 3 to prevent tooth decay.
Those residing in areas where community water is fluoridated have the added benefit of drinking water that helps prevent tooth decay. For example, Troy, NY has fluoride int their tap water so drink up! If you’re one of the 25% of Americans whose city water supply isn’t fluoridated (or you use well water), your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dentist will likely prescribe a daily supplement
2. Get to a dentist early and often
The American Academy of Pediatrics say you should take your child to the dentist by their first birthday. In addition to conducting a thorough oral exam, the dentist will obtain a dental history, guide parents on proper brushing habits and cavity prevention, and establish how often a child should visit, among other things.
3. Brush your teeth with the right technique
Brushing your teeth aggressively back and forth can damage your teeth and gums. Instead, tilt the bristles a bit toward the gums and gently brush in tiny little circles, touching every surface of each tooth. The general recommendation is to brush kids’ teeth for two minutes, but if your child only has two teeth just make sure your brushing enough to get the plaque off.
4. Flossing is essential
Flossing isn’t just for permanent teeth, baby teeth need extra attention too! It’s important to start flossing children’s teeth as soon as two teeth start to touch.
Whitney Young Health offers dental care for people of all ages – especially kids. From teeth cleanings to cavity fillings we take care of it while giving you the tools to stay on track with your dental health. We’re one of the only dental clinics in the area that accept Medicaid. If cost is still an issue for your family, we offer a sliding fee scale to those who are uninsured. Call (518) 465-4771 to make an appointment for you or your children today.