Getting a toddler or preschooler to stick to a basic dental care routine isn’t easy. But it’s well worth the fight.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. While this topic probably should be on every parent’s mind year ‘round, we take the opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of developing good habits early. I know what you are thinking! Of course a dentist would say so. However, the facts are on our side:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Studies have shown that untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades. Moreover, the CDC reports that about 1 of 5 (20 percent) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
The good news is that that many of these issues can be prevented by brushing daily, avoiding sugary or acidic drinks, and regular check-ups.
Speaking of brushing… did you know that if your child is younger than 6 years, you should watch your child brush their teeth? Help your child brush until she has good brushing skills.
Once again, developing good habits young is the key to life-long oral health. How young? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child should go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts – and then return regularly for prevention and treatment. We recommend to stick to this recommendation. Not that we expect to find something wrong with brand-new teeth, but if you have a baby or toddler, you may have questions about thumb sucking, your child’s first dental visit or how and when to clean your child’s teeth. Parents will learn about proper dental care routines for kids, ways to prevent early childhood caries, when to expect changes from primary to permanent teeth, proper brushing and flossing techniques, thumb-sucking, dental sealants, choosing the right mouth protector for active children and adolescents, and teaching their children to say no to tobacco.
Most importantly perhaps, we will get your child used to the idea of being at a dentist office and sitting in the chair. Because going to the dentist is not only necessary, but can also be a lot of fun.
Children’s teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and a healthy smile is important to a child’s self-esteem. With proper care, a balanced diet and regular dental visits, their teeth remain healthy and strong.