Smile! February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, which not only aims to raise awareness about the importance of oral health in children, but also serves as reminder to make an appointment at the dentist for your child. Dental hygiene is essential to keeping kids healthy and is one of the most important things we can teach our kids. Developing healthy habits early on in life will make it easier for them to develop and maintain healthy habits as an adult.
Children’s Oral Health
Healthy teeth are vital to your child’s overall health. Tooth decay, known as cavities, is one of the most common, preventable childhood diseases. Cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth that feed on sugars and produce an acid that eats away at the enamel of the tooth. Untreated cavities can lead to infection and severe pain, may affect a child’s ability to speak, and can cause children to perform poorly in school. Regular checkups, along with brushing and flossing twice a day, will ensure your child grows up with a healthy smile.
When Should Kids Start Brushing?
Teeth begin to form during pregnancy, so good dental care begins before your child’s first tooth appears. As your baby’s teeth come in, you can floss the teeth that touch and brush them using an infant toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. At age two, your child should learn to spit while brushing. By age three, they should be using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste.
When Should Kids See a Dentist?
The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday. At this first visit, your dentist will go over proper brushing and flossing techniques. These early visits also get your child used to seeing the dentist and are helpful in detecting issues before they arise. Consider taking your child to a pediatric dentist as they are trained to handle issues specific to children.
Working with Your Provider
As your child grows, plan on routine dental checkups at least once or twice a year. Since each child is different, your dentist will let you know when your next routine checkup should be scheduled. Making sure your child is brushing and flossing regularly, limiting sugary drinks, snacking healthfully whenever possible, and keeping up with their recommended check-ups will start your little ones on their journey to a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Nathaniel Hock, DDS is a general dental provider at Peak Vista’s Health Center at Jet Wing. Dr. Hock has been seeing patients at Peak Vista since 2019. He enjoys providing comprehensive dental care to those in need and is passionate about his patients’ overall health and the quality of care that his team provides. In his spare time, Dr. Hock enjoys skiing, hiking, playing with his dogs, and is an amateur brewer.