Did you know February is Children’s Dental Health Month?

Have you seen your dentist lately? 

Did you know February is Children’s Dental Health Month? 

In addition to seeing your primary care physician at least once a year, you should also MAKE TIME to have your child see their pediatric dentist. Here’s why it’s just as important: 

Tooth decay is the NUMBER ONE chronic infectious disease affecting children in the United States and it is on the rise. The rate of tooth decay in baby teeth of children aged 2 to 5 years has increased nearly 17% from 1988-1994 to 1999- 2004. This means that by the age of 5, about 60% of children will be affected by tooth decay. Here’s the great part… it’s LARGELY PREVENTABLE. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you take your child to a pediatric dentist at the earliest of these two dates: (1) the date on which your child's first tooth appears or (2) your child's first birthday. 

In the meantime, here are some helpful hints that you should be doing at home to help prevent tooth decay: 

1. Regular brushing 2x a day - Brushing your teeth together as a family and picking out a fun toothbrush can help make brushing teeth fun for your keiki. 

2. Two-minute rule - It is recommended that each tooth brushing session should last as least two minutes. Using a timer can make it easier to set healthy brushing habits. 

3. Reducing sugar intake - Choose WATER over sugary drinks always! Avoiding carbohydrates in the form of junk foods. They are called “junk” because of their ability to cause tooth decay and unhealthy weight gains. Eating crunchy fruits and veggies can help keep your mouth clean. 

4. Flossing - Did you know that when you don’t floss, you miss about 40% of your teeth’s surface? That’s almost half your teeth! 

5. Dental visits 2x a year - It may be hard getting your child to the dentist this many times a year but pairing the visit with a fun activity such as the movies or going to the park afterwards can give the child something to look forward to. If you start visiting the dentist at a young age, your child will realize that the dentist visits play an important role in overall good health habits. 

6. Don’t forget your tongue - If you fail to clean your tongue, it can lead to bad breath and other oral health issues. It only takes a few extra seconds. 

7. Rinsing – Teach your child to rinse their mouth with water (not mouthwash). This can help get rid of food particles to thoroughly clean their teeth when brushing. 

8. Proper calcium intake - Calcium is a key contributor to strong bones and teeth that are developed during childhood. Giving a multivitamin with calcium or three servings of dairy products per day such as milk, cheese or yogurt should supply the necessary calcium. 

By helping your child apply these skills to their everyday life will ensure they develop good health habits so their teeth will last for their entire life.

 Resources: https://www.aapd.org https://thekiddentist.com

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