Throughout February, HACAP has been celebrating Children's Dental Health Month. To close out the month, we are sharing ten easy tips when caring for your child's oral health and keeping their smiles bright.
1. Start Early! Many parents often ask. "When should my child first see a dentist?" Our answer, it's never too early to take care of your child's dental health. The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents establish a dental home for their child by their first tooth or first birthday, but taking care of your child's dental health starts at birth.
2. Even before your baby starts teething, run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away any bacteria.
3. When your baby gets teeth, softly brush them with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste. (size of a grain of rice)
4. When your baby's teeth begin to touch, you can start flossing between them.
5. After your child turns one, schedule routine check-ups. If it's been more than six months since your child has seen a dentist, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
6. Brush twice each day for two minutes. Children ages 2-6 should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
7. Promote a healthy diet! Fruit juice, sports drinks, fruit snacks, and sticky candies pose severe threats to your child's teeth. If your child loves to snack, focus on calcium-rich snacks like cheese, yogurt(low sugar), fruits, and veggies.
8. Stay hydrated! Water helps rinse any sugar or particles that can lead to cavities. Many municipal water sources also contain fluoride, which is recommended by the American Dental Association and U.S. Surgeons General, among others, as an efficient way to prevent tooth decay.
9. Replace your Child's toothbrush every three to four months.
10. Supervise. Always supervise kids younger than eight while brushing; this helps form good habits that will last a lifetime!