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Celebrate Children’s Smiles in February!

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Did you know that there is more to the month of February than Valentine’s Day? In our world, February is a very important month because it is National Children’s Dental Health Month. It is a perfect time to shine a spotlight on the oral health of your child.

First Tooth, First Birthday, First Dental Visit

Are you a new parent wondering when to take your child to a dentist for the first time?

“It is never too early to start thinking about the oral health of your child. According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentists, schedule a first check-up with a pediatric dentist for your child by the time they get their first tooth and no later than when they celebrate their first birthday,” says Dr. Ashley Loudermilk, dentist at Scuba Smiles for Kids in San Antonio.

This initial visit gives you the chance to ask questions, talk to your child’s dentist about any concerns, and allow the dentist to take a look at their teeth and gums.

Protect Those Tiny Teeth

Baby teeth might be small, but they play a big role in the overall health and development of your child. Not only do they help with speaking and chewing, but they also serve as space savers for those permanent teeth. That’s why it’s so important to take good care of them from the beginning. Daily brushing is super important, and don’t forget about flossing! It is important to use floss to get rid of any crumbs and particles missed by your child when they brush.

Early childhood tooth decay is more common than you might think.  That’s why it is crucial to stay on top of your child’s oral health right from the beginning. Regular check-ups, healthy snacks, and fluoridated water are all key ingredients for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

4 TIPS TO HEALTHY SMILES

Keep them Drinking

Fluoridated water and staying hydrated play crucial roles in promoting strong oral health. First, fluoridated water helps to strengthen your child’s teeth. Fluoride is a mineral in water that is great for your tooth enamel which is the protective outer layer of teeth. When your child drinks water they are also supporting their saliva production which helps wash away food particles and bacteria from the mouth and reduces the risk of cavities. Finally, water acts as a natural cleanser for teeth, rinsing away sugars and acids that can lead to tooth decay.

Brushing and Flossing

Making sure that your child brushes and flosses their teeth is crucial to maintaining good oral health. Be sure they brush their teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time, and don’t forget to floss. This helps remove plaque from the teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Remember, you can set a good example by brushing and flossing with your child.

Make brushing even more fun by allowing them to pick out their own colorful toothbrush. It’s also a good idea to change out that toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.

Another fun way to make brushing fun is to play their favorite song for two minutes while they brush. It’s always great to keep the brushing rhythm going!

Positive reinforcement and small rewards are a great way to reinforce your child’s great oral hygiene habits.

Sealants

Dental sealants are a preventive measure for protecting your child’s teeth from cavities and decay, particularly on the chewing surfaces of molars.  Sealants are thin, protective coatings that create a barrier that prevents food particles and bacteria from settling in these vulnerable areas of the teeth.  Even if your children have great oral hygiene habits sealants can provide an additional safeguard against tooth decay, especially in hard-to-reach areas. Research has demonstrated that sealants are safe and highly effective in preventing caries in both primary and permanent teeth Overall, dental sealants are a simple, painless procedure that can significantly contribute to maintaining your children’s oral health and reducing the risk of cavities.

Better Snacking

Snacks and kids go together. Instead of snack choices high in sugar, offer your child fresh fruits such as sliced apples or oranges. You can also offer your children some veggie treats like baby carrots or cucumbers.

“These foods are not only healthy for their bodies, but they are also great for their teeth and gums,” says Dr Loudermilk

Instead of candy treats, offer your children cheese and yogurt as a choice. Healthy snack choices lead to the development of great eating habits and better oral health. Remember, if you don’t know what fruits and veggies are in season, you can ask the folks who work in the produce section at your favorite market.

Visit the Dentist

What better time to set up an appointment than during National Children’s Dental Health Month.

“It’s important to have your child visit the dentist at least twice a year so we can make sure their teeth and gums are in great health. We can also spot potential problems that might be overlooked at home,” says Dr. Loudermilk.