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Practice Transformation Companion Newsletter: February 2021

Feb 3, 2021 | News


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February 2021 Blog


February is Children’s Dental Health Month


The month of February presents a great opportunity to promote the benefits of good oral health in children. It also raises awareness of the importance of pediatric dental care at an early age. Developing good dental habits early helps children get started on the road for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents take their child to the dentist by the first birthday or six months after the first tooth becomes visible. Some parents may feel this timeline isn’t realistic for a variety of reasons. For the most part, dental care is started around the age of three or less. Most pediatricians keep tabs on a child’s mouth and may even provide fluoride at pediatric visits, but they aren’t a substitute for a trained dentist. Once the dentist gets their first look inside the child’s mouth to check the gums and teeth, preventive measures and parental concerns can be addressed early.

Home dental care is crucial. Tiny teeth need to be protected as they have a key role to save space for a child’s permanent teeth. These teeth affect smiling, chewing and speaking. They also have an important role in a child’s overall health. Tooth decay that is untreated can cause oral infections that can lead to other serious health problems.

Baby bottle tooth decay has always been a problem for babies and young children. When a child consumes sweetened liquids or those with natural sugars (fruit juice, milk, formula) the bacteria in their mouth produces acid which attacks tooth enamel even on baby teeth. This can eventually cause tooth decay. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle with a sugary liquid. The liquid will be in their mouths ready to do the dirty work on these little teeth as they lay there at naptime or for the night. If a parent absolutely insists on putting a child to bed with a bottle, use only water.

According to the American Dental Association, 40% of kindergarten children have early tooth decay.
The following are some tips to help maintain a child’s dental health:

  • Wipe off your baby’s gums every day with a washcloth or clean gauze pad to clear away harmful bacteria
  • Brush their teeth beginning with the first tooth using an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste after six months of age.
  • Make brushing last for two minutes twice each day. Children who are ages two through six years should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Supervise them once they are brushing their teeth themselves to remind them not to swallow toothpaste.
  • Start flossing as soon as their teeth start touching one another
  • Give your children healthy snacks like cheese or low-sugar yogurt. Resist sweetened beverages and gummy or sticky sweets that can lodge in between their teeth.
  • Encourage the drinking of water as it helps to rinse away any sugar that is in their mouths. Some city water sources also contain fluoride which is an efficient way to prevent tooth decay.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush every few months
  • Get your child on your dental insurance
  • Schedule routine dental checkups every six months
During the COVID pandemic it has been difficult for many people to accomplish the preventive care they would normally be doing. Dental care may have been one of those items that was missed in 2020. As we start moving forward in this new year, make dental health a priority for your children and yourself.


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