One aspect of promoting children’s healthy habits that is often overlooked is oral health care. In February we celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month at AppleTree & Gilden Woods.
Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits supports children for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Here are some quick tips for a good start to proper oral care:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if bristles are frayed.
- Always start brushing with the rear teeth—the ones your child bites with, which have crevices that can trap food particles. Also, make sure they understand that the inside surface of the teeth is just as important as the outside ones.
- Don’t forget to tell them to brush right from the gum line—healthy gums are just as important as healthy teeth.
- Help children with flossing until they are about 10 or 11—even then supervision will be necessary to help ensure proper technique.
- If they don’t like brushing, try cleaning your teeth at the same time—doing things together will get them inspired.
- The first trip to the dentist should happen as soon as that first tooth appears or by the first birthday. You child’s dentist visits (around 6 months) should really just be to make sure everything is growing and developing the way it should.
The two minutes your children spend brushing each morning and each night represents some of the most important preventative care you can give them.
For more information on children’s dental health, visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s website at www.aapd.org. For information on dental insurance assistance and other health care program assistance eligibility, visit www.michigan.gov.