Smile! It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month!

February 10, 2017

Every February, National Children’s Dental Health Month is celebrated across the United States to raise awareness about the importance of oral health in kids. Developing good oral habits at a young age, along with regular visits to the dentist, helps children to understand the importance of healthy teeth and gums. It is never too young to begin demonstrating and practicing good oral hygiene practices with your children. Here are some tips to get your kids started on the path to great dental health:

  1. Start Early: As soon as a baby is born, you can start good practicing healthy oral health behaviors. Before a child develops teeth, you can use a soft washcloth to wipe your baby's gums after feedings. Begin brushing your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush as soon as you see a tooth appear. Begin with just a smear of toothpaste with fluoride 2 times per day.

  1. Toothbrush Last: The very last thing that should touch your child’s teeth at night is their toothbrush. For example, do not let your child go to sleep with a bottle filled with anything but water. When teeth are frequently exposed to sugar-containing fluids for long periods, the risk of tooth decay increases dramatically.

  1. Establish a Routine: Create a bedtime routine for your child that involves brushing their teeth. For example, pick a consistent time at night to bathe your child, brush their teeth, and read them a few books. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Having a predictable nighttime routine will help [children] understand and learn to expect what comes next. Additionally, routines may ease the stress that some families experience at nighttime.”

  1. Make It Fun: Use a timer, a short song, or counting as a game to encourage brushing for 2 minutes.

  1. Avoid Sugar: Your child’s teeth are affected by the type of food you feed to them. Choose drinks and foods that do not have a lot of sugar in them. Give your child fruits and vegetables instead of candy and cookies.

  1. Find a Dental Home: Develop a relationship with your child’s dentist. Make your child’s first dental appointment before their first birthday, or within six months of the appearance of their first tooth.

East Valley Community Health Center offers affordable dental health services to both children and adults at our centers in West Covina and Pomona. Call us today to schedule an appointment for your child! Remember, healthy teeth mean a healthy smile!