Take it from Dr. Watts, your Overland Park family dentist: The attitudes and habits that your children establish at an early age are essential in helping them to build and maintain good oral health habits that will last a lifetime. That’s why, this National Children’s Dental Health Month, we thought it would be a good idea to tackle a few facts that all parents should know about the dental health of their children.
1. The most common chronic condition affecting children in the U.S. is tooth decay. That’s not the most common dental health condition; that’s the most chronic condition, period. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 11 has at least a single untreated decayed tooth. This is why it’s so important for kids to learn good oral health habits early and make regular visits to their Overland Park dentist.
2. It’s never too early to brush. Even before your baby’s teeth start to come in, you should use infant tooth and gum wipes to swab his or her gums. Once those teeth begin to appear, you can upgrade to a soft-bristled toothbrush for young children, along with a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste. By the time your kids are between 3 and 5, they’ll probably be old enough to start brushing on their own. Start out by supervising them or by brushing together, so that you can teach them good habits.
3. Fluoride toothpaste is safe to use from the start. There’s no specific age at which you should start brushing your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. As soon as your child’s first teeth come in, it’s safe to start using fluoride toothpaste. Just remember that you aren’t brushing very many teeth yet, so use a very small amount!
4. Most parents set a poor example when it comes to flossing. You should be flossing every day anyway, and that goes double if you want your kids to do it, too. As soon as your child’s teeth are touching one another—even before permanent teeth come in—you should start teaching your child how to floss. And remember to set a good example by flossing every day yourself!
5. Your child should see a dentist before the age of 12 months. Pediatric dentists specialize in the dental health of babies and young children, and kids should see their dentist by their first birthday. Regular visits to see the dentist from an early age help to establish good habits and teach children that dental visits are nothing to be afraid of.
Whether it’s your child’s first dental visit or just the first visit of the year, celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month with a visit to your friendly neighborhood Overland Park dentist! Call Watts Family Dental at (913) 338-3384 to schedule an appointment. And while you’re at it, why not make an appointment for yourself? It’s never too early to start setting a good example!