Children’s Dental Health Month

The health of a child is the foundation for the overall well-being of a future adult. Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. The purpose of this month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers, and many others.

The earlier in life your children learn about the importance of oral hygiene, the better. Because they are eventually replaced by adult teeth, you may think that your baby’s little teeth aren’t that big of a deal. If they fall out, what harm could happen? The truth is that your child’s mouth can become a host for tooth decay even before those first teeth emerge and long after the baby teeth fall out.

According to the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, every child should visit a dentist either by age 1, or as soon as their first tooth appears. This will teach the parents how to care for their children’s teeth and how to begin teaching them the importance of doing so. Teeth are something that every person needs and if taken care of properly, can last for an entire lifetime.

Some of the worst damage that occurs to children’s teeth happens because of parents allowing their children to fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. This causes major decay and leads to early cavities and an unhealthy amount of bacteria in the child’s mouth. Frequent exposure to sugary drinks creates a breeding ground for bacteria that does not go away when baby teeth fall out. Preventing decay due to sugary drinks also creates good habits for your children’s overall health. Teaching them that going to sleep without brushing their teeth, especially after having a sugary drink is not good for them and what to do instead will only benefit them in the long run.

Another huge element of children’s dental health is the use of gummy vitamins. If you want to promote a healthy mouth and smile in your child, stop giving them gummy vitamins immediately. From the moment they enter their mouths, gummy vitamins wreak havoc on children’s bodies. For years now, these supposedly “healthy” and delicious sugar bombs have been damaging kid’s teeth across the country. The gelatin material that is used to hold the gummy vitamins together sticks to teeth, and combined with the sugary dusting on the outside, causes major cavities and rotting. Regular brushing and flossing is not enough to fully remove the gummy material that sticks to the teeth, so within just a few months of taking gummy vitamins, teeth can be destroyed by the continuous residue.

Forming good oral hygiene habits for your child will have long-lasting effects. If you can get them to start brushing properly at a young age, it can become a habit that they carry into adulthood, resulting in exemplary oral health. Here are a few tricks you can use to get your child to begin brushing the correct way at a young age.

Brush Their Teeth

This can be exceptionally challenging for any patient. Being patient with children and pushing the importance of teeth brushing is absolutely worth it. They may not love it at first, but try to make it fun! Sing a song and let them know they cannot stop brushing until you have finished the song. Or sing the ABC’s and make sure they know to brush all the way from A to Z. The most important lessons are not always the easiest, they are the ones that will have a lasting impact and positive effect on your child’s health.

Brush With Them

Children can’t wait to grow up. Younger children will often copy what their parents and other adults do so that they can seem as though they are all grown up. By brushing your teeth alongside of your child, they will likely copy you and it will begin to sink into their minds that keeping up with teeth brushing and oral health is just an everyday part of being an adult.

Let Them Brush Your Teeth

Making brushing fun for your child will convince them to want to brush more often. One way you can make brushing fun for them is by allowing them to brush your teeth. This is also a way that you can make forming good oral hygiene habits a family activity.

Buy a Fun Toothbrush

Toothbrush manufacturers make creative toothbrushes for kids that they will enjoy. Whether it be their favorite cartoon character, an animal, a funny shape, or plays a song, your kid will likely want to play with the toothbrush. As toothbrushes are made for brushing teeth, this just may inspire them to starting brushing on their own.