February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and we have 8 easy tips that will help to ensure your kids benefit from a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles.
1. The benefits of a glass of water extend beyond hydration; it can actually help preserve your family’s smiles. Make sure each member of your household, from the youngest toddler to the oldest adult, regularly drinks fluoridated tap water. According to the American Dental Association, the fluoridation of municipal water supplies is the single most effective public health measure to help prevent tooth decay. The ADA states that:
2. Children under 3 years old should use a “smear” or “rice-sized” amount of toothpaste, children age 3 and up should use a “pea size” amount of toothpaste.
3. Keep a healthy, happy smile with the 2-2-2 rule.
— Visit your dentist 2 times per year, brush and floss 2 times per day for at least 2 minutes.
4. The best toothbrushes have soft, round-ended (polished) bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums.
— The handle should be the correct size to fit your child’s hand.
5. Make going to the dentist easier by turning it into an exciting day out!
— Before or after your appointment, take a trip to the park or have a fun game night in.
6. Keep a calendar of your daily brushings, putting a sticker when completed.
— Once you hit milestones (brushed for a week, month, etc.), celebrate with a prize like a cool new toothbrush or choosing which movie to watch.
7. Keep an eye on sippy cups.
— Sipping juice from a sippy cup or bottle throughout the day keeps teeth bathed in sugar. Use only during mealtimes and never let your child fall asleep with a sippy cup or bottle.
8. A teenager still needs their pediatric dentist!
— The chances are pretty high that your teen will get the last of their permanent teeth (called wisdom teeth or third molars) before transitioning into full adulthood. Although some third molars come into the mouth normally, others need to be removed because of their position or lack of space. Make sure to have your teen’s pediatric dentist monitor the state of their wisdom teeth.