Did you know that February was National Children’s Dental Health Month? Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health (NCDHM) Month to promote the benefits of good oral health to communities across the country. I wonder why we as moms did not hear more about it! Anyway, I figure that regardless of February we should all be more informed about this very important topic all throughout the year.
As parents, you may be well aware that it can become a challenge to get your child to care for their own teeth. However, good dental habits developed at an early age are more likely to lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. So in honor of NCDHM, one of our local BKB Moms and Dr. Maria Eugenia Yazji from Contemporary Orthodontics shares with us a few of her best tips:
- Make brushing fun and not seem like a chore. Buy your child fun toothbrushes and flavored toothpaste. It’s important to brush for two minutes, twice a day. You can try brushing and watching videos from 2min2x.org so they brush for the entire time. Don’t forget to floss too!
- Enforce healthy eating habits. Eating sugary foods will cause teeth to become more vulnerable to tooth decay. Offer your child healthy snacks like almonds, fruits and vegetables with high water and high fiber content.
- The reward of having a healthy smile isn’t always motivating enough for the little ones. Compliment your child on their great habits or award them specific prizes for brushing a week straight or meeting their goals.
- Visit a dentist regularly. Your child should see a dentist no later than their first birthday. Untreated oral health problems like cavities or gum disease may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. A pediatric dentist is trained to identify bite issues at an early age and will refer a child to an orthodontist. The earliest your child should see an orthodontist is age 7. Not every problem can be treated at age 7 but most problems can be diagnosed by that age.
The health of your mouth reflects the condition of your body as a whole. Let’s be conscious and raise awareness about the importance of oral health and encourage loved ones to do the same. Healthy smiles help us look our best!