Developing good dental hygiene and visiting the dentist from an early age is important for lifelong healthy teeth and gums.
Every February the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of dental health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood in the United States. If cavities go untreated, they can cause pain and infections that may lead to other problems like eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
What can parents and caregivers do?
- For babies
- Wipe gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bad
- When teeth come in, start brushing twice a day with a soft, small-bristled toothbrush and plain water
- Visit the dentist by your baby’s first birthday to spot signs of problems early
- Talk to your dentist or doctor about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears
- For children
- Brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Help your child brush their teeth until they have good brushing skills
- Ask your child’s dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate
- Drink tap water that contains fluoride
Remember, good dental health is important when pregnant. While pregnant, you may be more prone to gum disease and cavities, both of which can affect your baby’s health. Protect your teeth by seeing a dentist before you deliver, brush your teeth twice a day, and floss daily.
For more dental health information, visit Children’s Oral Health | Basics | Children’s Oral Health | Division of Oral Health | CDC.