February was Children’s Dental Health Month, a nationally recognized program to promote the importance of caring for our children’s teeth and encouraging healthy habits. According to the Centers for Disease and Control, cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood, yet they are highly preventable. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infection, sometimes leading to problems with speaking and eating.
Cavities occur when plaque builds up and eventually destroys the tooth’s enamel. Regular brushing and flossing can prevent the plaque from forming on the tooth. However, many children don’t know how to properly brush their teeth, missing key areas where bacteria can form.
As caregivers, it is important that an adult spends time with the child supervising their brushing until they are old enough to do a thorough job. Fun activities and songs are a great way to involve your child in their brushing routine. Very young children may benefit from a “toothbrushing chart.” Creating an interactive activity to remind children when to brush their teeth is a fun way to keep them interested and motivated.
Here are a few daily tips to help your child learn proper oral hygiene habits:
- Begin early. You can start caring for your child’s teeth soon after birth by taking a warm washcloth and massaging the gums.
- Don’t rush the brushing! Children should brush for at least two minutes twice a day. **Use a two-minute favorite song and have them play it while they brush for the duration.
- Flossing can become a regular part of the daily hygiene routine, even at a young age. Cavities are most likely to form between teeth, where bacteria get trapped if food particles aren’t removed. While flossing can be difficult for kids, caregivers can help with this critical step. Flossing aids such as picks and fun-themed hand flossers can make flossing fun and make it easier to reach those tricky spots.
- Set a good example. Kids love to imitate their parents, so continue to show them how important oral health is by practicing good brushing habits yourself.
- Watch what they eat. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks, which are a leading cause of tooth decay.
- Schedule that cleaning appointment! Good dental hygiene means regular checkups and visits to your children’s dentist. At Weaver, Reckner, and Reinhart Dental Associates in Souderton and Harleysville, we recommend visits every six months.
The month-long observance of Children’s Dental Health Month serves as an excellent reminder of the importance of oral hygiene in children of all ages. At Weaver, Reckner, and Reinhart Dental Associates, we are committed to offering you and your loved ones the best care and helping your child develop healthy dental habits at a young age throughout the entire year.
For more information on our practice and services, visit our website at www.gotta-smile.com.