February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! WP would like to take the opportunity to remind you about good dental health and practices…
*It is never too early to start brushing – Even if your child is still awaiting their first tooth, going through the motions of brushing, rubbing and stimulating the gums is important.
*2 minutes twice a day! – Set a timer or come up with a song or game to keep your child engaged during the brushing process. Two times a day is the minimum frequency suggested, but getting children to brush after meals as an early habit will help reduce risk of decay and help implement good life long dental care.
*“I want to do it!” – If your child is showing signs of independence and wants to brush their own teeth, support and encourage that! Be sure to check out their handy work at the end and do touch ups as needed. While touching up, teach your child about caring for all the types of teeth they have “their smiling teeth, their biting teeth and their chewing teeth” – especially those hard to reach ones.
*Make it fun – Let your child pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste. It will make the process more fun and desirable for everyone.
*Toothpaste tastes good – Fluoride in toothpaste is beneficial but it’s important to use the right amount. Recommendations are to use a smear about the size of a grain of rice for children under age 3 and a pea-sized amount for children 3-6 years. Remind your child that toothpaste is for swishing and spitting and not to be swallowed.
*Besides brushing – Feed your child healthy foods that do not have a lot of sugar, and when they do partake in a treat, remember to brush right after. Check teeth periodically looking for discoloration or stains, and prevent tooth decay by not putting baby to bed with a bottle filled with formula or milk. Remember to visit the dentist twice a year and discuss the need for fluoride supplementation based on your water supply. Happy Brushing!!!
Dr. Asha Ramachandran