Smile, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Brush up on your child’s dental care routine this February, it’s National Children’s Dental Health Month!

The month of February is dedicated to raising awareness for children’s oral health. Many dentists recommend that parents take extra steps to ensure their children develop oral health habits from a young age.

A smile full of pearly whites begins in infancy and can increase the chances of a healthy oral routine into adulthood. Whether it’s no-brainers like brushing and flossing to the lesser known facts, our friends at Delta Dental of Arizona offer a variety of tips that parents need to ensure their young children’s dental health habits start strong:

Avoid sharing utensils.
In Delta Dental’s 2013 survey, 75 percent of parents said they shared utensils such as a fork, spoon, or cup with their child. However, sharing can spread harmful bacteria to a child and would be best avoided.

Discourage use of a pacifier after the age of 2.
While pacifiers can be beneficial for children under 2 years old, be aware that they can damage children’s teeth if used longer.

Visit the dentist before your child’s first birthday.
Most children don’t visit the dentist until after age 3. By taking your child for an oral exam before his or her first birthday, your child is more likely develop a relationship with their dentist.

Provide water instead of juice or milk at nap time.
Drinks such as milk and juice have sugars that can lead to tooth decay if a child falls asleep with a bottle. Before nap time, fill your young one’s bottle with water to avoid damaging teeth and gums.

Follow the “2 for 2” rule.
Your child’s new teeth need cleaning care, it’s recommended that children brush twice a day for two minutes each. Pro tip: Have your child hum a song while they brush to encourage a lengthier brushing time!

Wipe your young child’s gums after mealtime.
Wiping your young child’s gums after eating will get them used to the feel of a daily oral routine, and will also help you as a parent get in the habit of monitoring their tooth development. When teeth appear you can begin to use a toothbrush.

The path to a radiant smile begins in early childhood. While February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, always remember that proper dental care is important year-round!

Get more tips about infant/toddler dental and oral health care from Delta Dental today!