February is National Children's Dental Health Month

Good Dental Health atan Early Age: Simple Dental Tips for Kids                                                                                                                 Accordingto the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention,tooth decay and many other forms of oral disease that affect children areultimately preventable. Yet tooth decay is still the most common chronicinfectious disease plaguing children in the United States. Good oral hygiene habits and attention to preventative care may help your child avoid severe paincaused by cavities and other dental infections.

Since tooth decay isthe number one dental problem among preschoolers, we want to equip parents withsimple dental tips to limit problems and promote healthy teeth and gums in ourlittlest ones. Here is a list every parent should consider.

1.     Avoid Sticky &Sour Treats
Children will sufferfrom massive dental erosion caused by the unhealthy Ph levels found in sour candies such as Sweetarts and Skittles. Even fruit snacks are harmful and willstick to the tooth all the while eating away at the enamel. Avoid these snacksat all costs!

2.     Limit Sugar Drinks
Soft drinks and otherflavored drinks are common culprits, but surprisingly so is juice and milk.Constant drinking throughout the day with these types of liquids causes teethto be coated with sugar for long periods of time. Drinking water is always thebest option. However, if you child does drink something with sugar, try torinse the teeth immediately after or better yet brush their teeth.

3.     Ensure Proper Brushing
As soon as childrenget their teeth, brushing should commence. A warm wet cloth on a baby’s teethwill suffice. Yet proper brushing for toddlers and young children shouldconsist of using the right size toothbrush with the appropriate bristlestrength in addition to using a pea-size amount of ADA-approved toothpaste.

4.     Inspect Often
Most problems can bedetected by a simple examination. Parents should look out for baby teeth asthey erupt through the gums as well as watching out for tartar and plaquebuildup. Also keep an eye out for inflamed gums, poor alignment, and brown orwhite spots on the teeth that may indicate a cavity.

5.     Start Early & StayConsistent
The American Academyof Pediatrics recommends that all children see a specialized dentist by the ageof one. Having your child seen consistently by a caring dental care providerwill ensure optimum oral health. It is recommended that every child—and adultalike—visit their dentist ever six months.

6.     Make Flossing Fun
Flossing is vitallyimportant as it removes food particles stuck between teeth where brushingcannot reach. Today, you can find flossers specifically made for children inall shapes and sizes. Most children will require assistance in flossing. Don’toverlook this important step… a few minutes with your assistance can make allof the difference.

7.     Fluoride When Needed
If you desire an extradose of Fluoride or live in an area where the water in not fluoridated, fluoride drops or chewable tablets can be prescribed. Fluoride provides extraprotection against those harmful cavities. It’s best to talk to yourpediatrician or dental provider about this option.

Stick to these tips and you will be sure to establish good oral hygiene habits for your children that they will likely carry into adulthood. Remember, prevention is key! Youwill ultimately be able to preserve your child’s dental health for many yearsto come!

Written by American Dental Association