Children’s Dental Health Month

February is Children’s Dental Health Month

In recognition of this, the staff at Grand Dental Group has some tips for parents and kids to keep their pearly whites in tip top shape. Good, basic oral hygiene is the foundation for a lifetime of excellent dental health. The more that parents and children focus on establishing good habits at a younger age, the more likely a child is to have positive experiences in the dental office and fewer significant long-term dental needs.

  • Brush twice daily. This is the most basic of all dental hygiene rules. Follow the Rule of 2s! Teach your children to brush twice a day, for two minutes each time. To encourage the full brushing time, check out the apps on your smart phone or tablet. These brushing apps play music for 2 minutes and have reminder settings you can program for kids.
  • Floss daily. This is tough because even most adults don’t floss routinely. When you make flossing a regular part of your child’s hygiene regimen, they will consider it part of their day, as opposed to an extra added step.
  • Limit sweets and treats. This is the toughest guideline to follow for everyone! Kids are exposed to sweets everywhere- home, school, Grandma’s house, at a play date, after sporting events, etc. Minimizing how much juice, pop, candy, and gum your children consume is a huge benefit for their oral health. Sugar and sweets are an acquired taste and children do not crave these things until they fist eat them. So, delaying when you child begins eating these foods or reducing the amount of access your child has to treats is helpful to preventing tooth decay.
  • Regular dental visits. Children, starting by their first birthday, should see their dentist or pediatric dentist regularly. Twice a year is the general rule of thumb. These check ups allow hygienists to clean your child’s teeth by removing any tartar, plaque and stain that has accumulated. At these visits, your dentist will review home care, dietary concerns, and perform an exam. Preventative dental appointments like these catch tooth decay early and can also prevent future dental problems.
  • See an Orthodontist. By the age of 7-9, all children should be evaluated by an orthodontist. Today, orthodontic treatment in the form of braces, retainers, and Invisalign starts earlier than before. Orthodontists now know that early intervention when a child is still growing can reduce the time spent in braces, possibly prevent oral surgery, and give a better end result.
  • Establish good overall health habits. This is especially important for tweens and teens. Parents should encourage open discussion about healthy dietary choices, physical activity, and the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco with their older children. Vaping is increasing in popularity among teens, without any long term studies done on its safety. Parents can seek the advice of their child’s physician or dentist if they need support with these conversations.

Setting guidelines for basic oral hygiene and good overall health provides an excellent foundation for children and young adults. Kids learn best by mimicking their parents, so of course Grand Dental Group providers recommend that parents also practice what they preach!

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