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October is Children’s Health Month – A Tip a Day to Brighten Little

Teaching kids about proper oral hygiene doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. In honor of Children’s Health Month, here’s a simple “Tip a Day” to keep your child’s smile at its brightest.

  • Start oral hygiene early! Wipe your baby’s gums daily with a clean moist gauze pad or washcloth.
  • When teeth first begin to erupt, gently brush infant’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and water.
  • Start dental visits early – before the age of one.
  • At age 2, add a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to the brush…and make sure your child spits it out.
  • Use only a soft-bristled brush.
  • Make sure your child has the dexterity necessary for proper brushing and flossing.
  • Brush the inside surface of each tooth first – plaque accumulates here first.
  • Don’t forget to brush the tongue.
  • Set a consistent time of day for brushing and flossing – make it a routine.
  • Consider setting a 2 minute timer for brushing – or play a favorite tune while they brush.
  • Don’t send toddlers to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Sustained exposure to drinks containing sugar causes tooth decay.
  • Try to ensure toddlers give up pacifiers before 36 months. Long-term pacifier use can impair tooth development and cause speech-impairing malformations of the mouth.
  • Encourage kids to start drinking from regular cups between 12 and 15 months. Long term use of sippy cups can cause tooth decay and cavities.
  • Begin flossing your child’s teeth at age 4. By age 8, most kids can floss for themselves.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between their teeth and under the gumline BEFORE it hardens into tartar.
  • Because plaque is difficult for kids to see, consider using a plaque-disclosing tablet one time so your child can see where plaque likes to hide.
  • Praise your kids for doing a great job on their brushing and flossing.
  • Let children pick a fluoride toothpaste flavor they like.
  • Allow kids to choose their own toothbrush with the characters or colors of their choice.
  • Let your child pick a new toothbrush every few months.
  • Always replace toothbrushes after a cold, flu or infection.
  • If you opt for an electric toothbrush, you still must supervise correct brushing practices.
  • Have a discussion with your child’s pediatric dentist about sealants – not all kids need them.
  • Don’t pull out your child’s loose tooth. You could damage sensitive tissue. Allow kids to wiggle the tooth themselves.
  • Resolve to make your child’s diet healthier: serve more fruits and vegetables, less sugar and fewer carbonated beverages.
  • When kids do eat starchy or sugary foods, try to make it at mealtime instead of snack time. The extra saliva produced during a meal helps rinse food from their mouths.
  • If your tap water is not fluoridated, ask us about which daily fluoride supplements to use.
  • If your child participates in organized sports, make sure they have a properly fitted mouth guard.
  • Be a good role model by taking care of your own teeth.
  • Make sure your child comes to see us twice a year for cleanings and check-ups.
  • It’s Halloween….so which treats are best for kids? Surprisingly, one of the safest Halloween treats is sugar free gum. Stay away from lollipops and hard candies. Gummy worms and caramels stick to the teeth long after the treat has been enjoyed, so have kids rinse after eating these. Enjoy the day with smart, healthy treats!
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