February is Children’s Dental Health Month, we wanted to share some tips and tricks to get your child’s smile in tip top shape. It is no secret that what your child eats correlates to a healthy smile. One of the best things parents can do is encourage their children to eat a healthy diet along with regular brushing and flossing.
Children’s Dental Heath Secret 1: Juice is Not a Substitute for Water
Juice boxes are often a go-to for parents. They seem healthy after all they are made from fruit, right? Juice is a watered down version of fruit with a lot of sugar and very little nutrients. In terms of causing cavities, juice is generally regarded the same as soda. Juice should be viewed as a sugary treat.
What is the American Academy of Pediatrics stance on juice?
- No juice for kids under the age of one
- Very limited quantities for kids over one
- Diluting juice does not decrease dental risks
Children’s Dental Health Secret 2: Have Tobacco Talks Early
Talking to your children about tobacco use early in life helps set the stage for healthy habits as they grow older. While it is no secret that tobacco use is bad for health, many don’t consider the impact of talking about the dangers of tobacco early. Using tobacco increases your chance of gum disease and mouth cancer, and it can stain your teeth an unsightly yellow or brown.
Children’s Dental Health Secret 3: Consider Dental Sealants
Dental Sealants are thin plastic coating painted on the teeth. The sealant quickly bonds to the depressions and grooves of the teeth forming a protective layer to help prevent tooth decay. Children should consider getting sealants as soon as their premolars come in because of the likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves. Sealants prevent decay for up to 10 years but should be checked regularly for damage.
Children’s Dental Health Secret 4: Start Dental Visits Early
Many children feel overwhelmed by their first dental visit. One of the best ways to curb a child’s fear is by starting their visits early. The American Dental Association recommends children begin going to the dentist within six months of the first tooth eruption but no later than their first birthday. Before visiting the dentist get your child excited by playing games, talking about the dentist, or reading fun stories. See our tips for making dental care fun for kids here.
Children’s Dental Health Secret 5: Baby Teeth Matter
Even though they are temporary, baby teeth matter. Children need strong healthy teeth to chew their food, speak, and display that beautiful smile. First teeth also serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. Try brushing your baby’s teeth each morning and night with a pea sized amount of toothpaste. Starting babies on a healthy dental routine early helps ensure success later in life.
Baby Bottle tooth decay often occurs in the front teeth but can affect others as well. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for baby. This is because prolonged exposure to sugar can damage teeth. Bottles should only be used for breast milk or formula, do not use for sugary drinks (see Secret 1).
Children’s Dental Health Secret 6: Healthy Dental Habits
Our last tip is no secret: we strongly believe prevention is key. There is absolutely no substitute for regular, brushing, flossing, and dental visits. Regular cleaning allows for removal of any plaque buildup along teeth as well as observation of any prevailing problems.
We are pleased to offer pediatric care at all of our locations. Having your child seen early helps thwart many dental issues. Dr. Jennifer Dixon is a board certified pediatric dentist available to assist in all our your child’s needs.