Children’s Dental Month – (February, 2024)
According to the CDC:
- Oral health refers to the health of the teeth, gums, and the entire oral-facial system that allows us to smile, speak, and chew.
- Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have fewer cavities than children whose water is not fluoridated. Similarly, children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste will have fewer cavities.
- Cavities are preventable. Fluoride varnish can prevent about one-third (33%) of cavities in the primary (baby) teeth. Applying dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth prevents 80% of cavities.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Cavities, also known as caries or tooth decay, are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, yet cavities are preventable. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.
Your child’s diet is very important for developing and maintaining strong and healthy teeth. It is helpful to include good sources of calcium (yogurt, broccoli, and milk) to your child’s diet to help build strong teeth. Teaching your child about healthy eating habits is one of the best practices for a lifetime of good health. Here are some helpful tips:
- Eat fruits and vegetables for snacks rather than candies and cookies.
- Brush your child’s teeth twice daily.
- Serve water rather than juice or soda.
What Parents and Caregivers Can Do
- 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 as soon as the first tooth erupts but no later than your baby’s first birthday, to spot signs of problems early.
- Talk to your dentist or doctor about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
Children younger than 2, should use a smear of fluoride toothpaste twice daily.
- Brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Help your child brush their teeth until they have good brushing skills.
If your child is younger than 6, 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 permanent molars have erupted.
- Drink tap water that contains fluoride.
- Children are now required to have an oral health assessment or dental exam prior to enrolling in Kindergarten.
Affordable dental care is available right here in your community. If you have questions or need assistance in locating a dental provider, contact Elizabeth Johnson, DHD #10 Oral Health Coordinator at (231) 674-5218
You can also check out, visit https://whereforcare.info/#findaprovider to locate a dental provider near you.