Early Dental Care Can Help Keep Kids Smiling for Years to Come02/10/13
SUNDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Every baby has a beautiful
smile, and to keep it that way, parents should teach good dental
habits at an early age, experts say.
A child's first dental appointment should occur six months after
the first teeth erupt or by their first birthday. After that, it is
recommended that children see a dentist every six months.
"Childhood dental decay is largely preventable, and taking your child to see a dentist at an early age is the best way to prevent future oral health problems," Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Dr. R. Claire Campbell said in an academy news release. "This will instill positive behaviors that will result in a lifetime of good oral health."
As part of National Children's Dental Health Month in February,
the group offered the following tips for parents:
- When the first teeth come in, parents should begin brushing the
child's teeth. Brush for two minutes twice a day using a small,
soft-bristled toothbrush and water. Talk to your dentist before
using toothpaste in children under age 2.
- Introduce flossing early. Helping kids learn how to floss will
encourage them to make it a routine as they get older.
- Do not allow excessive sucking of pacifiers or fingers, which
can lead to tooth misalignment.
- Don't let children fall asleep with a bottle containing milk,
formula, fruit juice or sweetened liquids. A decrease in the flow
of salvia while they sleep makes children's teeth more susceptible
to cavities caused by sugar in these liquids.
- Encourage kids to drink tap or fountain water. If you live in
an area where the public water supply is not fluoridated, consider
talking to your dentist about fluoride supplements.
"The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example," Campbell said. "Allow your child to watch you brush your teeth to teach the importance of good oral hygiene."
The Nemours Foundation has more about
keeping your children's teeth healthy.
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.