Kidzdent team members holding their hands in the shape of hearts for children's dental health month

February is Children’s Dental Health Month

Tooth Decay is Not Okay!

Tooth decay is extremely common in children, but the good news is that it is also preventable! Since dental health is one of the biggest indicators of overall health, it is really important to establish healthy habits early on and take the best possible care of our children’s teeth. In this blog post, we’ll provide you some insight into how to best take care of your child’s oral health with our pediatric dental care tips.

During Pregnancy: Healthy Habits for Mom & Baby

Did you know that a baby’s teeth begin to develop 6 weeks into a mother’s pregnancy?

  • This means that it is extremely important for pregnant mothers to take care of their bodies and teeth as well.  This can be done by having a well-balanced diet and good brushing habits.

          Tip: Aim for a variety of healthy foods, fresh fruits & yummy, nutritious veggies! 

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy can have an effect on a mother’s overall oral health. Pregnancy gingivitis increases the blood flow to the gum tissue and may cause gums to become more sensitive, resulting in red and swollen gums that can bleed easily. Brushing thoroughly and flossing daily will help to prevent gingivitis and help you maintain good oral health.
  • Research suggests a link between pre-term, low-birth weight babies and gingivitis, so see your dentist for regular checkups to ensure a healthy mom and baby. Prevention is always the best plan.

Good Dental Habits Start Early and Pediatric Dental Care Tips

  • You can start taking care of your baby’s mouth within the first days by wiping his or her gums with a soft washcloth or gauze regularly after feedings.  This will keep the area clean and get your baby used to having their mouth gently brushed.  Try to make this process fun by humming or singing a soothing song. Your baby will become very used to this routine and proper oral hygiene habits will become ingrained from the very beginning.
  • Once teeth begin to appear (typically around age 6 months), you can begin to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.  This will clean off any milk and sugars left over on the baby’s teeth, preventing decay. Starting a diligent brushing routine at this age will help to transition from wiping your baby’s gums to a healthy brushing pattern that can be followed for life. 
  • Make sure to brush your toddler’s teeth twice a day using a small drop of toothpaste approximately the size of a grain of rice. When they have at least two teeth that touch, you should begin to floss using a child size floss holder.  Flossing is easiest when you have your child lay down with their head on your lap.  This allows the child to rest and be still, while allowing you a clear view of the teeth that you are trying to floss. 
  • It is recommended to visit a pediatric dentist for a checkup before your baby’s first birthday. This will allow a pediatric hygienist and dentist to evaluate your child’s teeth for proper growth and development. You will also receive age-appropriate nutritional guidance and oral hygiene instructions. The ultimate goal is to prevent any problems before they start!
  • Remember our children learn their habits from us so set a good example and stick to it.

Avoid Sweets 

  • Limit sweets to special occasions. We recommend giving your child sweets only at birthday parties, weekends and other events. Children that drink juice and eat sticky, sugary snacks on a daily basis are more susceptible to dental decay.
  • Tooth decay can impact a child’s overall quality of life. It can cause discomfort, tooth loss, inhibit their cognitive and social well being, and compromise their growth, function, and their self-esteem.
  • Maintaining healthy baby teeth is important for children to be able to chew their food, develop proper speech, and have a healthy smile. Primary teeth are also necessary to maintain the proper spacing in the jaw for the developing permanent teeth.

FUN FACT: Most children will not lose the last of their baby teeth until approximately age 12.

  • To avoid “baby bottle tooth decay,” limit baby bottle use to breast milk, formula, milk, or water. Avoid using the bottle for juices and sugary drinks and remember to clean your baby’s teeth and gums after feedings. Allowing babies and toddlers to sleep with bottles or “overnight at-will nursing” exposes the baby’s mouth to prolonged milk sugars and increases the risk of “baby bottle tooth decay”. 
  • Children who drink sugary beverages have nearly double the risk of tooth decay and an increased risk of obesity and diabetes. Good habits start early so make sure to serve milk and water instead.

Make Brushing Fun

  • Have your children pick out a tooth paste flavor that they like.
  • Brush together so they can see you brushing too.
  • Have them brush their teddy bear’s teeth so they see the tooth brushing as a fun thing to do every day.
  • Download a fun tooth brushing app on a tablet or device.
  • Try singing a song to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Brush, brush, brush your teeth, get them nice and clean ….
  • Schedule your next pediatric dental appointment at KidZdent so we can provide you pediatric dental care!

2 thoughts on “February is Children’s Dental Health Month”

  1. I really appreciate it that you suggested picking from the supermarket stall your kids favorite toothpaste flavor so that you could brush long enough with them regularly to keep their teeth clean and bright. This is just what my mom would want the twins to develop, so she’s planning not only on buying bubblegum-flavored teeth gels but also taking the boys to their first pediatric dental visit. She’s hoping a child-friendly dentist would be able to explain well to the children why they need to regularly brush their teeth and how painful it would be if they get a toothache if they sleep with their teeth dirty.

  2. It’s so important that children learn the importance of good dental hygiene from an early age. Thanks for these tips.

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