During the month of February, the American Dental Association celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month. This month-long national health observance reinforces the importance of oral health in children as well as helping parents with tips to keep their child’s smile on track!
We often hear parents ask, “When should my child start seeing a dentist?”
It’s never too early to begin focusing on your child’s oral health! The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents establish a dental home for their child by their first tooth or first birthday, whichever comes first.
As your child’s teeth begin to come in, instilling good dental hygiene habits in your kids can help with their overall physical and social wellbeing.
Set a good example. The example you set is a powerful force in your child’s attitude toward oral care! Research shows that when young children notice other family members brushing their teeth, they want to brush, too. Let your child see you brushing and flossing your teeth, and making good nutritional choices for optimal oral health.
Start early. Beginning around age two or three, use a toothbrush just their size with only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. If they want to brush by themselves, that’s great! Just make sure you brush their teeth again after they have finished. Once your little one hits age six, they will have the dexterity to brush all on their own.
Go shopping together. Kids who have the chance to choose their products often embrace brushing their teeth faster. Let them choose a toothbrush and toothpaste that they can get excited about!
Make dental self-care rewarding. Young children aren’t likely to be motivated by the thought of a long-term payoff. Instead, try rewarding them with little treats like a sticker or a gold star each time they brush.
Establish a dentist early on. As mentioned earlier, your child should start getting regular checkups around age one. Children who get in the habit of taking care of their oral health from an early age have a much better chance of having healthy teeth into adulthood.
If you have questions about your child’s oral health or would like to schedule an appointment to begin their dental hygiene journey, contact our office.