February is for flossing—not the dance move but the dental hygiene activity! This month is National Children’s Dental Health month.
Poor dental health can lead to pain and infection that may cause problems when eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss school more and receive lower grades compared to other children.
The good news is cavities are preventable! Daily dental hygiene routines at home and regular visits to a dentist can help. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), parents can support young children by developing good dental habits.
Here are some tips for parents to introduce dental health.
- Wipe gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed to wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities.
- When teeth come in, start brushing twice a day with a soft, small-bristled toothbrush and plain water.
- Visit the dentist by your infant’s first birthday to spot early signs of potential issues.
- Talk to your dentist or doctor about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
For Toddlers and Older Children:
- Help your child brush their teeth until they have good brushing skills.
- Teeth should be brushed twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- If a child is younger than six, you’ll need to watch them brush. Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow.
- Ask your child’s dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate.
- Drinking tap water that contains fluoride is helpful.
Parents can show their children love in many ways, like helping create healthy habits like good dental hygiene. In return, children will carry those healthy habits throughout their lives.
- Ohio’s Safety Net Dental Clinics
- Sesame Street: Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me
- KidsHealth: Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy
Learn Through Play Daily Activities: February
Help children learn through play by using one of the following age-specific monthly calendars that feature daily activities.
To receive our monthly tips via email, sign up for our Parent Source e-newsletter.