February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! Although we are in the specialty of orthodontics, as dental professionals, it is our responsibility to be part of creating both beautiful and healthy smiles. In February, the Dunn Ortho staff visits most of the local elementary schools to teach about dental health. We are committed to serving our community and teach others about smiles that will last a lifetime.
A healthy dental care routine for a child all starts with parents setting the example. Make brushing your teeth in the morning and at night not only a routine your child grows to expect but a family endeavor! Your child will follow your lead when you demonstrate the importance of daily care for your smile.
Dental health looks slightly different at each stage of a child’s development. As soon as the first tooth erupts, parents should begin cleaning the teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush or a wet washcloth. We follow the American Association of Orthodontics guidelines in that all children should be screened by an orthodontist at the age of 7 but a child should be seen by a general dentist around age 2! When your child is a toddler we recommend brushing 2 times a day and flossing any teeth that touch up against another tooth. Once your child can spit properly we suggest adding a fluoride rinse before bed. This is a great additional step you can take in preventing decay.
Proper brushing technique is more important than toothpaste itself when it comes to removing plaque from the teeth. Using too much toothpaste leads to a higher likelihood of your child ingesting too much fluoride which could lead to permanent white spots on the developing adult teeth.
We know that children can be a little anxious about visiting the dentist. There are some great children’s books out there about going to see the dentist. Start reading them to your child at a young age to get them excited about the dentist. If you have dental fears yourself, try your best not to let your child pick up on your fear. If you are not established with a general office yourself that you feel your child would enjoy, looking for a Pediatric Dentist is a great way to make sure you’re taking your child somewhere that caters to children.
If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more, Dr. Dunn is always happy to discuss them with you—any time of year! We can’t wait to see you and your family in our office again soon.