Are your kids excited about their upcoming Valentine’s Day parties at school? Maybe Cupid will pay them a special visit with candies and cards. But this February, your general dentist urges you to celebrate more than just one holiday. That’s because February is also Children’s Dental Health Month. Though dental hygiene is important every day of the year, this month provides an especially great opportunity to review the correct steps for preventive care with your kids, that way they can grow up loving their smiles!
When Should Dental Care Start?
As soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts, his or her oral health journey will begin! Making sure to limit sugar intake, and gently wiping the gums with a soft rag after feeding can help prevent early problems like dental decay.
Gently brushing your baby’s tooth or teeth is also advised, though toothpaste won’t be necessary.
After a few years, you will want to teach your children how to brush their own teeth, first by guiding their hands as they brush, and then by supervising to make sure they use proper technique and do not swallow any toothpaste. Playing a song while they brush is a simple and fun way to help make sure they brush for long enough.
Dental checkups are also important, from age one on. You should schedule baby’s first appointment right around his or her first birthday, and then visit as often as the dentist recommends. For most school-aged children this is approximately once every six months, but if your kid is prone to developing cavities, more frequent visits may be necessary.
You can also talk to your pediatric dentist about the benefits of sealants, like fluoride, as another helpful preventive measure.
There are lots of great resources online to help parents better educate their kids about the importance of oral health, and proper dental hygiene. For instance, check out the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research’s website, which features printable age-specific booklets for parents, outlining the dental care that is needed to keep those young smiles healthy!