February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends the following tips to ensure your child boasts a happy, healthy smile.
Preventive dentistry starts with your child’s very first tooth. At this age parents can clean their baby’s tooth with a piece of sterile gauze. The AAPD recommends children see the dentist by the time they turn 1 year old. As your child gets older they can begin to provide their own oral care with your supervision. Your child should brush their teeth twice a day.
Most children should visit the dentist twice a year. Some children may need additional visits. Regular visits help your child stay free of cavities. Teeth cleanings remove debris build up on the teeth that can irritate gums and cause decay. Plus, the dentist’s hygiene instructions to your child can help support a regular brushing/cleaning routine.
The AAPD recommends that children get proper fluoride through either their drinking water, fluoride products or fluoride supplements. Speak to your dentist to determine if your child is receiving an adequate exposure to fluoride. Fluoride can help your child avoid teeth decay by inhibiting the loss of tooth enamel and affecting the oral bacteria that can cause cavities.
If your child is snacking frequently between brushing, bacteria forms which then produces harmful acids that attack tooth enamel. Limit your child’s exposure to sugar and certain carbohydrates (pretzels, bread, crackers) or sticky foods (dried fruit, toffee) that are not easily washed away from the teeth by saliva, it puts them at extra risk for tooth decay. And never put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula or juice.
– Jean Sheff