February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM). First celebrated in 1949, NCDHM promotes teaching children good oral habits early to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles. Here are our top 10 fun facts and tips to help you make the most of NCDHM.
1.Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children (it is even 5X more common than asthma!), so adopting healthy oral hygiene habits is a fundamental part of a child’s overall well-being. About 20 percent of kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and children with oral health problems are 3X more likely to miss school due to dental pain than children with no oral health problems.
2.Make oral care a part of your routine even before the first tooth appears. Use a soft cloth or a baby toothbrush and water to clean your baby’s gums 2X/day.
3.American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends establishing a dental home by taking a child for their first dental visit by the age of 1 year old or their first tooth.
4.Use a smear or rice grain-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children under age 3 and for children ages 3 to 6, a pea-sized amount.
5.Children should begin flossing once they have two teeth that touch each other.
6.Buy new toothbrushes, as needed. Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 to 4 months, as frayed bristles decrease their effectiveness.
7.Check on your child’s brushing technique, especially if they brush their teeth unattended. AAPD recommends supervising your child until they are seven to eight years old.
8.Sports injuries are responsible for 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries in children. Wearing a mouth guard and other sports gear can reduce the risk of sport-related dental injuries.
9.Eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and limiting sugary beverages are keys to strong oral health.
10.Schedule an appointment with us! Dr. Ami Maru, and her team at Belmont Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, are your partners in ensuring your kids have a healthy smile! Regular cleanings are recommended every 6 months.