Childrens National Dental Health Month

Caring for Your Child’s Teeth the Early Years

National Children’s Dental Health Month owes its existence to the ADA (American Dental Association)

When focus is placed on a child’s dental health, it will set them on the proper path of dental health for their entire life!

Caring for your child’s teeth begins BEFORE their teeth ever erupt (come in).  From infancy, we, as parents/caregivers, should use a wet washcloth to wipe our infant’s gums each and every day!  Yes, we said wipe their gums!  This does a couple of things.

  1. Wiping the gums with a wet washcloth gets your infant used to something being in their mouth.  It is the initial establishment of the “brushing habit”
  2. Bacteria can be transferred from a parent/caregiver to the infant if/when eating utensils are shared.  It is imperative that this transfer of bacteria be kept to a minimum.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and the American Dental Association recommend a child’s first dental visit take place “at eruption of the first tooth or by the child’s first birthday”.  We know many of you are thinking “Are you absolutely crazy?”

The first dental visits for your child are more about them getting to know us and feel safe and comfortable with us!  These visits are also to educate you, as your child’s primary caregiver, and answer any questions you may have.  

You know your child the best.  If a visit at the age of one will not be a good experience, make sure your child is continuing to see their pediatrician for regular well visits.  At these visits, the pediatrician will take a look in your child’s mouth.  If they see anything of concern, they will let you know a visit to us is needed.

For most little ones we see, by the age of two, they are happily going for “rides in our special chair” and having one of our amazing assistants, Tanya or Cathy, use “our special toothbrush” to “make sure there are no sugar bugs on the teeth”

As you child gets older, dental homecare is essential and NOT something that should be made your child’s sole responsibility too soon!  Your child’s dexterity is not adequately developed until AT LEAST age 7-8.  Until that time, YOU should be brushing their teeth!  We have found that a child’s Sonicare toothbrush is an amazing aid for this!

Parents, you should also be flossing you child’s teeth!  The area between the teeth accounts for 40% of the tooth structure.  If flossing is not a habit, 40% of your child’s teeth are being left with plaque and cavity causing bacteria.  Flossing is the ONLY way to keep these areas clean.

This may sound daunting, but incorporating these habits for yourself (and your child) will give them the gift of a cavity-free mouth for as long as possible.  We routinely see kids grow into adulthood with NO cavities if these habits are in place.

Please contact our office to schedule your child’s first visit with us!