Did you know February is National Children’s Dental Health Month? As we start a new year, this is the time to take control of your child’s dental health with a few easy steps.
Step up their daily dental health routine
Everyone knows how important brushing and flossing are to good dental health, but with today’s busy lifestyles, brushing and flossing are often overlooked, even for children. Be sure your children brush their teeth no less than twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste (if they 3 years of age or older). It isn’t only important they routinely brush their teeth; it is equally important they brush their teeth correctly to ensure good dental health both now and as adults. The American Dental Academy (ADA) recommends that to properly brush:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
Even children need to floss, whether they have their baby teeth or have progressed to their permanent adult teeth. Many people know that flossing is important but are not doing it correctly. To correctly floss your teeth follow these simple steps:
Be sure that you know how to floss correctly so you can teach your children to start the good dental health habits that will help protect them as adults.
Make sure they are getting routine dental care
Even if your child’s at home dental care is perfect, they still need to visit their dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and check up. These semi-annual appointments are vital to ensuring their good dental health doesn’t deteriorate. A dental hygienist will remove any plaque that may have accumulated during the previous six months that cannot be removed through simple brushing or flossing and your dentist will check for any cavities that may be too small for your child to notice so they can be fixed before they become a problem. Once a year, x-rays will also be taken to ensure that even the areas that can’t be seen are in good health. Not only will routine dental care help prevent future problems, it also provides a good baseline to compare future results to which can help identify any changes that may occur as your child continues to grow.
If they have a dental health problem – get it checked out!
Too often, people wait until a dental problem becomes a “big deal” before they go and visit a dentist. This can be especially true for children who may be more fearful of the dentist or who don’t understand how serious a dental problem can be. Dental issues, including pain, can be caused by a variety of issues ranging from an abscess (infection), cavity, an underlying issue such as TMJ, or even a bite misalignment (when teeth don’t close together properly). However, no matter what the root issue might be, it will not resolve itself. Only by making an appointment with a dental professional to properly identify and remedy the core cause will the issue be alleviated before it becomes a major problem. Make sure to help your child feel at ease about the dentist and watch for signs that they might be experiencing discomfort such as avoiding certain foods, such as those that are hot, cold, or hard.
Ready to take the steps to ensure your child’s good dental health in 2016? Contact us for an appointment today!