February marks the American Dental Association’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, during which the Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) helps to raise awareness about the importance of childhood oral health.
“Children grow up quickly, including their teeth,” said Dr. Gary Linker, CSDA President. “That’s why it’s important to instill good oral health habits starting at an early age.”
“Daily oral cleaning is a strong foundation for good oral health,” said Dr. Linker. “From gently cleaning an infant’s gums, to helping your child brush twice a day when they get their first tooth, oral healthcare should start early.”
The following are milestones to guide children’s oral health:
- Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.
- Start brushing teeth after a child gets their first tooth.
- Take the first trip to the dentist when a child gets its first tooth, or by the age of one.
- Begin daily interdental cleaning (like floss) when the child has two teeth that touch.
- Visit the dentist every six months.
“Dental hygiene is important, but so too are the foods you give children,” said Dr. Linker. “Parents should also be mindful of a child’s sugar intake from food and drink. Milk and water are the best options for small children. Juice should be given to children sparingly, because it contains added sugar on top of the natural fruit juice. It is also recommended that infants should finish their bedtime and nap time bottles before going to bed, and teeth should be wiped and/or rinsed with water to help prevent tooth decay caused by baby bottles.”
“From the first baby tooth to adult teeth, oral health is important for childhood development,” said Dr. Linker. “So, give your children the help they need and visit your dentist if you ever have any questions or concerns. It is important for children to receive good oral health from an early age, so that they learn the importance of going to a dentist.”
For National Children’s Dental Health Month posters and other promotional material, visit: www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month.