Good oral health habits start early, which is why dental organizations across the country join together in February to celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month. Tooth decay can begin at any age, so it’s important to teach your children how to care for their teeth when they are young. Set your children up for years of healthy smiles by encouraging these important habits:
Brush twice a day. As soon as your baby gets his or her first tooth, it’s time to start brushing. Parents should brush children’s teeth until they are about two years old. At this time, kids will likely show an interested in brushing their teeth by themselves. Let them try it out but be sure to do a thorough brushing after they are done. Continue to supervise your children’s brushing habits until they are 10-12 years old to make sure they are using the correct amount of toothpaste and are brushing for two minutes.
Drink fluoridated water. Fluoride is naturally occurring mineral that helps to protect the teeth’s enamel. Fluoride is particularly important for children as it makes teeth stronger and helps to prevent cavities. Most communities have fluoridated water, making it easy for children to get the appropriate amount of fluoride from tap water. If your community does not have fluoridated water, fluoride drops or tablets can be prescribed by a doctor.
Schedule regular dental appointments. The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist once their first tooth emerges or after their first birthday, whichever comes first! Children should continue to visit the dentist as recommended, typically every six months.
Limit sugary treats. While brushing is an important part of caring for your teeth, some children are more susceptible to developing cavities based on family history, certain medical conditions, or orthodontia. Limit your child’s intake of candy, juices, and other sugary foods, especially outside of mealtimes.
Don’t forget to floss and rinse. Flossing isn’t just for adults; kids as young as two years old can begin to floss with adult assistance. Starting early will help to develop good habits that will last throughout childhood and adulthood. Kids can begin to use mouthwash at age six, however they should be monitored by an adult until the age of 12.
We welcome patients of all ages at Vacendak Dentistry and love getting to know the whole family! We have years of experience in working with children and strive to make a visit to the dentist a pleasant time for all. To schedule an appointment for your child, call us today at 757-609-3510 or request an appointment online.