JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
February 1 marks the beginning of National Dental Children’s Health month and for the entire month, dental professionals’ nation-wide focus on promoting healthy smiles. Good oral habits develop early in life and teaching children to care for their teeth is essential to ensure a life time of healthy smiles.
The American Dental Association recommends regular dental check-ups, including a visit to the dentist within six months of the first tooth erupting and no later than the child’s first birthday. This gives dentists an opportunity to spot the beginnings of tooth decay and teach parents how to care for their child's teeth.
Practicing good oral hygiene habits should start long before your child’s first tooth appears. Establishing an early routine with your baby will help you both get into the daily habit of caring for their teeth and gums. Gently wipe your baby’s mouth and gums with a wet washcloth or gauze at least once a day. When the first molars come in, usually by the age of 10 months, it is time to start daily brushing using a small soft toothbrush and warm water. Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes, brushing the front, back and chewing surfaces of the teeth. Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth touching together.
The ADA and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does not recommend using fluoride toothpaste until your child is two years old. Help your child brush using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. It is important for your child to spit out and not swallow the toothpaste. When selecting a toothpaste, check the label, some are not recommended for children under six years old.
Keeping a healthy smile starts with your child's first tooth. Remember, healthy habits start early in life, so be sure to get your child off to a good start with early dental visits, proper brushing, flossing and lots of smiling!
During the month of February, volunteers form the 628th Dental Clinic will be visiting the Child Development Center, Hunley, Lambs and Marrington Elementary schools to present healthy oral habit informational skits.