February is Children’s Dental Health Month

If you have a young person in your life, starting them on the path to a lifetime of good dental health is a gift that pays benefits for years to come. Here are a few things to know about helping little ones with their teeth:

Babies will usually start to get teeth by their first birthday. If teething makes them fussy, giving them a cold washcloth or solid rubber teething ring from the refrigerator can ease their discomfort. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first dental visit at the eruption of their first tooth, or their first birthday. This allows the dentist to check their growth and development and gets the child accustomed to the dental environment under good circumstances. The dental team works with parents and caregivers to help them establish a good routine for caring for their child’s teeth.

Primary (baby) teeth have an important job in holding space for the permanent teeth that will begin to erupt at around age six and continue until they are age 11 or 12. Keeping them healthy and free from tooth decay can be accomplished with regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and limiting sugary drinks and snacks. A diet high in fruits and vegetables and foods rich in calcium such as lowfat dairy foods promotes dental health.  Foods that stick to teeth such as dried fruit or crackers can linger and allow decay-cusing bacteria to convert the sugars present to acid that attacks teeth.

A dentist may recommend dental sealants, a resin material bonded to the deep grooves of teeth to help reduce the risk of cavities in these vulnerable areas. Dentists also monitor the eruption of permanent teeth and may recommend orthodontic care to help guide teeth into ideal positions. Teeth that are aligned well tend to wear more evenly throughout a lifetime, are easier to clean and function well.

If a child is active in basketball, hockey, martial arts or other sports with potential for contact, an athletic mouthguard can help prevent dental damage along with concussions.

Have more questions? Visit our page on Children’s Dentistry or give us a call at 541-465-9821.