Mark your calendar! Every February, the American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes National Children’s Dental Health Month. All month long, thousands of American dental professionals promote the benefits of excellent oral health and raise awareness about children’s dental disease.
At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt motivates children and their families in Overland Park, KS, and surrounding communities, by committing to child-centric patient education and high-quality pediatric dental care. Continue reading to find out how you can best support your child’s oral health right now.
Why is National Children’s Dental Health Month significant?
Which common chronic childhood disease is five times more common than asthma? If you answered, “tooth decay,” then you’re exactly right.
National Children’s Dental Health Month measures to inform children of the importance of consistent, satisfactory dental health habits early to assure a lifetime of healthy smiles. Aside from promoting anti-cavity prevention, dental professionals also dive into children’s dentistry specific topics, including:
- Promoting healthy gums
- Preventing misaligned teeth
- Easing dental anxiety and phobia
What can parents do to advocate for their child’s dental health?
1. Invest in a New Toothbrush
When was the last time your child changed their toothbrush? Every 3 to 4 months, toothbrushes should be replaced. With extended use, the bristles begin to fray and toothbrushes lose their effectiveness. Encourage your child to get excited for bushing by letting them pick their toothbrush. With a wide range of colors and characters, odds are they will find one that they will like! As a bonus, don’t forget a kid-friendly flavor of toothpaste too.
2. Monitor Your Child’s Brushing and Flossing Technique
Keeping up with daily oral care is essential. Do your children brush in a rush or floss like a boss? If you’re unsure, take time this month to check in on their daily at-home oral hygiene habits. As general principles, we encourage children to:
- Gently brush for at least two minutes with a soft brush and toothpaste with fluoride.
- Brushing after waking up and right before bed.
- Floss removes bacteria and food particles between the teeth and along the gumline.
3. Help Your Child Conquer Dental Anxiety and Fear
Dental anxiety and fear can affect people of any age. While there are many causes of dental fear, the consequences of avoiding the dentist are even scarier than the fear itself. For children, it may mean fewer regular visits to the dentist, which could lead to untreated oral health issues, improper development, and unexpected tooth loss.
Being a bit uneasy about the dentist is a relatively normal part of childhood, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating familiarity and positivity with dentistry can help young patients feel more calm and confident:
- Roleplay that you are the dentist (and vice versa)
- Use positive language and reinforcement
- Establish dental hygiene habits as part of a routine
- Don’t wait too long between visits
4. Schedule a Children’s Dental Appointment
In most cases, we recommend regular dental visits at least twice a year for an oral examination and professional cleaning. If you haven’t booked your child’s twice-annual dentistry appointments, there’s no time like the present. Also, if you make an appointment right now, your child’s next annual appointment should fall just in time for the back-to-school season. Call (913) 685-9990 or request an appointment conveniently online to schedule your child’s next dental appointment with Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids.