February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

There’s nothing more important than the health of your child, and practicing good oral hygiene is an important factor that helps improve his or her overall well-being. Since February is National Children’s Dental Health in America, it’s a great time to go over some of the best ways to take care of your children’s pearly whites.

Oral Hygiene and Cavity Prevention for Children

When bringing a child to a dental appointment, “cavity” is the last word any parent wants to hear come out of the dentist’s mouth. Did you know that some children are more prone to cavities than others?

Your child’s chance of getting cavities can be higher if: *

  • Family members (older brothers, sisters, or parents) have cavities.
  • They eat and drink a lot of sugary foods and drinks, like soda, especially between meals.
  • They have special health care needs.
  • They wear braces or orthodontics or oral appliances.
  • If any of these apply to your child, be sure to talk with your dentist, pediatrician, or family doctor to make sure you are taking extra steps to protect your child’s teeth.

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Fortunately, there are plenty of proven ways to help ensure your child has a cavity-free checkup.

Brush Your Teeth

Getting children to properly brush their teeth twice a day can be a difficult task. Even as adults, there aren’t many of us who look forward to brushing our teeth. It’s just something we know needs to get done in order to keep our mouths healthy. So how do you get your children to brush their teeth?

Father and daughter brushing their teeth

Make It Into a Game

When it’s time for children to brush their teeth, making it into a game instead of a task can be a fun way to get them in front of the bathroom sink. You’ve probably pretended that your child’s fork was an airplane to make eating vegetables more fun. This is the same basic idea applied to practicing good oral hygiene.

Picking the Right Toothbrush

It’s important to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that’s easy on the child’s teeth and gums. Additionally, you want to make sure that the toothbrush is the right size to accommodate your child’s mouth. Some dentists recommend using a power toothbrush, which have proven to be a safe and effective way for children to brush off plaque even though they lack full manual dexterity.

Your child probably isn’t very interested in the science behind choosing the right toothbrush; however, children are interested in what their toothbrush looks like. When picking out a toothbrush, bring your child with you so they can take part in the experience. You’ll know you made the right decision when you see your child get excited about all of the toothbrushes featuring their favorite characters from movies and TV.

If your child is younger than 6 years, watch your child brush their teeth. Make sure your child only uses a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spits it out rather than swallows it. Help your child brush until she has good brushing skills.


Drink Tap Water Containing Fluoride

Fluoride, the key ingredient in most toothpaste, has been proven to be a major factor in maintaining and improving oral hygiene. And these days, almost all tap water contains this important mineral. You can check to see if your community’s water contains a healthy amount of fluoride with the CDC’s My Water’s Fluoride Tool.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are a safe, protective coating that a dentist can place onto the molars which are most susceptible to cavity-causing bacteria. The American Dental Association (ADA) has recommended that children between the ages of 5 and 14 get dental sealants as they have been proven to prevent nearly 80% of cavities.

Following these tips and listening to your dentist’s recommendations can help ensure your child has a healthy, cavity-free mouth.

Mother and daughter drinking clean tap water
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