February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

IT’S KIND OF FUNNY THAT Valentine’s Day is February 14, the holiday that is associated with giving your loved ones candy. Maybe the American Dental Association picked February as National Children’s Dental Health Month in relationship to Valentine’s Day. I guess, they could have picked October when you think of candy with Halloween.

We have so many patients that ask questions about when you should start taking their kids to the dentist. I have seen numerous articles that say you should take your child to the dentist as soon as they get their first tooth. Myself, I think that you need to start brushing their teeth as soon as the baby teeth erupt. I always gave my son a baby toothbrush when he was teething. I think that the chewing sensation made his gums feel better and he got use to having a toothbrush in his mouth. I always let him brush his teeth by himself and then I went back and made sure that all the sugar bugs were off his teeth and rebrushed for him.

I started cleaning my sons teeth when he was 3. I think it is so important to go slowly and have a fun dental experience. If the child is reluctant, show them the air and the water and the light count the teeth for them and make it an interactive game with them that they count their teeth along with you. Tell them when they come back next time that you are going to polish their teeth. I always bought him the fun spin brushes when he was little and let him pick whatever his favorite super hero was at the time. This also made him want to brush his teeth more. Then came the Sonicare for kids, now he is sad that it won’t break and he can get an adult Sonicare.

As a mom of an athlete, I have to say that Gatorade and PowerAde makes me crazy. Parents are so worried about the electrolytes that they give their children these sport drinks and they are the biggest cause of decay in children. Yes, worse than soda pop and candy. If you are out in the sun, water is always your best choice!!! One other thing to remember, that a lot of the bottled waters do not have fluoride. Fluoride is so important to maintaining enamel health.

More important than anything, make sure that your child sees a dentist and his dental hygienist every 6 months for a professional exam and dental cleaning with a fluoride treatment.