Monday, February 20, 2012

It's National Children's Dental Health Month!

Many parents have questions about caring for their children's teeth.  When do I start brushing their teeth?  When should I take them to the dentist?  How do I keep them cavity free?  February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and we want to help get the word out.  Starting a child out with good dental habits and regular checkups can send them on the road to healthy teeth and gums for life!
Here are some tips to help:
  • Teeth are formed during pregnancy and mom's good nutrition plays an important role in the development of teeth.
  • Running a wet cloth over the gums after feedings helps to keep bacteria down before teeth come in. 
  • When teeth come in, use a small, soft, child's toothbrush to clean off teeth at the end of the day.
  • NEVER put a baby to bed with a bottle unless it is water.  The sugar in juice and milk will sit on the teeth all night and cause damage.  Parents need to also be aware that having bottles frequently or sipping on bottles during the day can cause the same type of damage. When giving a child milk or juice, have them drink it within a few minutes.  If they want to sip on something, give them water.  This will neutralize the acids in their mouth and keep them from getting cavities.   
  • At around age 2, most of your child's teeth will be in. You can now use a drop (about the size of a pea) of fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth.  You will need to assist them with brushing till they are around 7 or 8 years old.
  • Around 1 or 2 years old, start bringing them to your dental hygiene visits with you.  They can sit on your lap and start to get used to the dental enviroment.  
  • Talk to your dentist about having a "Happy Visit" for your child.  This is a slow going appointment where nothing that overwhelms the child occurs.  We show them the mirror and water sprayer, count their teeth, and polish them if the child does well.   The dentist can also help you determine when to start this process with your child. 
Below is a chart of primary teeth eruption.  Just remember, each child is different and some may get their teeth sooner or later than other children.  Ask your dental care provider is you have questions.
Check out this website for more information: