February Is Children’s Dental Health Month
For some fun ways to get your children excited about their dental health, visit these great websites:
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), and the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors programs across the country with the mission to develop positive dental habits starting at an early age. The ADA also encourages dentists, members of a dental team, teachers and parents to advocate the same message to children in their community. For the 35th consecutive year, Dr. Dautel participated in NCDHM by leading a preventative dental health presentation for the third grade class at Okte Elementary School. During this presentation, Dr. Dautel and his dental staff explained how plaque develops on your teeth, and how brushing and flossing helps prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay. He also stressed the importance of eating nutritious foods for both dental and overall health and seeing the dentists regularly for a cleaning and examination. That being said, have you been to the dentist for an exam recently?
Tips To Follow
Brush their teeth twice daily with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush the inside surface of each tooth first, as plaque is most likely to accumulate there. Then clean the outer surface and chewing surface of each tooth. Next, angle the brush and clean along the gumline, and don’t forget the tongue!
Floss daily starting at age 4. Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth and under the gumline. If not removed, plaque will harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist. From ages 4-8 you should floss for your child, and by age 8 your child should be able to floss for themselves.
Eat a balanced diet with a full range of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, phosphorous and the correct amount of fluoride. Limit snacking between meals. Sugars found in many snacks like cookies, chips and soft drinks combine with plaque to create acids that attack the tooth enamel and can cause cavities.
Make sure your child is getting the correct amount of fluoride. Fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel, protecting it from decay. Normally town water supplies already contain fluoride. If you aren’t sure you can contact your local water district or talk to your dentist.
When To Think About Orthodontic Care
Around the time children are 7 they should be evaluated for possible orthodontic care. Although 7 years old seems young to get braces, it gives the dentist or orthodontist the opportunity to use preventive measures to avoid future issues, or to help with the planning of future treatment. Proper alignment of the teeth is necessary to prevent possible issues such as speech impediments, jaw or TMJ pain, difficulty chewing, grinding or clenching teeth, or gum disease and tooth decay.