February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and its goal is to draw attention to the importance of oral health.
Tooth decay is “almost entirely preventable,” but it is all too common among children, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. By starting good oral health habits at a young age, you will be setting the stage for a healthy mouth in adulthood.
Here are three important tips to stay on top of your kids’ dental health:
1. Clean your baby’s teeth when they come in.
Use a clean, soft cloth or a special baby’s toothbrush. This has extra-soft bristles that won’t irritate the inside of a young child’s mouth. At around the age of two, start using a pea-sized drop of toothpaste on the toothbrush.
2. Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle.
Liquids like milk, formula, juice and other drinks all contain a certain amount of sugar. If they stay on a child’s teeth for too long, they can cause tooth decay.
In a situation where your child will not settle down for a nap or go to bed for the night without a bottle, fill it with water.
3. Schedule a dental visit before your child’s first birthday.
Establishing a relationship with a dentist from an early age is an important part of your child’s health care routine. At the initial visit, the dentist will check your child’s teeth and provide you with instructions on the best way to keep them clean. The dentist will also talk to you about how the use of fluoride and a healthy diet can keep teeth healthy and strong for life.