Ask The Expert: Are You Doing These 6 Things to Make Sure Your Kids Have Healthy Teeth?
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and a great time to review basic care tips to help keep kids’ teeth healthy.
The American Dental Association has designated February as National Children’s Dental Health Month, which is a great time for parents, educators, and childcare providers to review their practices for helping kids have the best dental habits. Dentists across the country also open their doors to low income children for free screenings and education sessions in schools. Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry has a full schedule of screenings set up in office and around town. Establishing healthy habits early on will protect primary teeth, but also lays the foundation for healthy adult teeth and gums and a positive relationship with the dentist’s office. Nearly half of children in the US have untreated cavities, making it one of the most common childhood ailments. Far from minor, untreated cavities in children can have long-lasting effects and also affect academic performance and social development.
Choose a Pediatric Dentist
One of the most important steps for helping children learn to care for their teeth is choosing a pediatric dentist who will help you guide your child’s dental habit development and also monitor and care for her teeth as she grows. It’s not uncommon for parents or caregivers to be uncertain about how to care for baby teeth or what are the best guidelines for when to introduce fluoride or flossing. These are the kinds of questions your pediatric dentist can answer. In addition, a pediatric dentist is a specialist in kids’ dental health and can anticipate problems unique to children’s dental development. A child should have his first visit to the pediatric dentist between his first tooth and his first birthday. After that, it’s important for children to maintain regular, twice yearly visits with their pediatric dentist. For more information on our office and doctor, call Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry at 201-434-3000.
Give Kids a Smile
To help raise awareness for National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, many dentist offices and dental professionals offer their services for free to underserved children in their communities who may not have regular appointments with a dentist. There are many tips and activities for parents, caregivers and educators online. Connect with a local dentist such as Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry to learn how you can support their program.
Train and Monitor Brushing
Proper brushing is an essential element in the fight against cavities and gum disease. Children younger than 5 need physical help and children between 5 and 10 years need to be monitored when brushing. Establish a routine for twice-daily brushing for two minutes, preferably after breakfast and after dinner to clear away food particles. Young children often take easily to set routines and this sort of healthy habit will carry them into their teenage years and beyond.
Focus on Fun, Healthy Foods
It’s very important that parents make healthy food choices part of every child’s routine. Encourage children to understand the consequences of what they eat and how they care for their teeth through fun games, books and child-appropriate videos. When choosing snacks, avoid overly sticky, sweet or starchy items. Alternatives to sugar-laden, processed items can be whole fruits, veggie sticks, nuts, yogurt or cheese sticks. These practices and tastes, when instilled early at home, help give children the habit to make healthy food choices when away at school or social events.
Be Prepared for Accidents
Accidents happen, but having a plan in place in advance can help to ease the anxiety they bring. Keep your pediatric dentist’s office programmed in your phone for emergencies. You can also share this number with daycare and family caregivers. Older children who play contact sports should be properly fitted for a sports mouth guard. Your pediatric dentist can review your emergency plans with you at one of your annual appointments. It’s a good idea to schedule one of these for the end of summer before the school year begins.
Take Preventative Actions
One tool parents have to help protect primary teeth are dental sealants. Dental sealants are coatings made of plastic resin designed to fill in the pits and valleys in young teeth, usually molars. This coating creates a physical barrier to protect the chewing surface of young teeth from food particles and bacteria. The procedure is painless and is performed by your dentist or dental hygienist right in the exam room. Call the Jersey City Pediatric Dentist office to get your questions answered and set up an appointment 201-434-3000.
Develop an Early Positive Dental Relationship
Caring for children’s teeth means making sure they have a strong understanding of good dental habits and associate the dentist’s office with health and safety. Too many adults developed fears of the dentist during childhood. Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry is committed to helping children develop a positive relationship with the dentist that will lead to a lifetime of healthy habits and bright smiles. Dr. McPherson doesn’t believe there is any reason for a child to fear the dentist’s office and everything we do is a testament to that philosophy.
This National Children’s Dental Health Month, work with our team to set up an appointment or take a tour of our fun, lively office to start your child on the path to healthy habits and a lifetime of positive dental experiences. Call Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry at 201-434-3002 or visit JCPDentistry.com to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our practice.
Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry is “Where Little Smiles Come to Shine!”