February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Educators, healthcare providers and dental professionals throughout the county, including the Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA), are emphasizing the importance of children’s oral health, and encouraging families to begin promoting a healthy mouth early in a child’s life.
“A happy smile is an important part of childhood,” said Dr. Michael Ungerleider, CSDA President. “Behaviors that maintain a happy smile should start when a child is young. The easiest way to keep up with children’s oral health is to help your young child brush their teeth for two minutes, two times a day and schedule regular dental exams.”
Decay can happen as soon as your child’s first tooth appears, so if you see some pearly whites peeking out when your little one smiles, it's time to pick up a tube of fluoride toothpaste. It is also important to schedule your child’s first dental visit once that first tooth appears, but no later than your child’s first birthday. This early visit helps prevent cavities early.
“Dental decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, but one of the easiest to prevent,” said Dr. Ungerleider. “Proper oral health in childhood is important, because tooth decay can cause pain, infection, nutrition problems, as well as affect a child’s self-esteem and cause missed days of school. Proper oral health habits start at a young age and will carry into later life,” said Dr. Ungerleider. “By taking the time to encourage children to practice proper oral health now, their healthy smiles will thank you down the road.”
Families can find other oral health tips for children on MouthHealthy.org, a resource from the American Dental Association.