6 Tips for Children’s Dental Health

The Importance of Children's Dental Health

The American Dental Association (ADA) observes National Children’s Dental Health Month every February! The goal of NCDHM is to promote oral health for young children and give them a solid foundation for good oral health in the future. Here in Chapel Hill, Ellis Family Dentistry is also celebrating NCDHM, so here are a few tips on how to keep your child’s smile shining bright!

Schedule Routine Dental Appointments

Schedule your child’s first dentist appointment by their first birthday or when their first tooth develops. We recommend dental visits at 6-month intervals for healthy mouths of all ages. Each visit will consist of an exam and dental prophy to help control bacteria in the mouth. We also recommend fluoride varnish at each visit to prevent tooth decay.

Brush Teeth As Soon As They Appear

Establish a twice-daily brushing routine. A brushing routine is essential to establish early in life for children to learn the healthy habit and continue it for their lifetime.

Use A Small Amount Of Toothpaste

Once you see their first tooth, use an infant toothbrush, water, and a small, rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to clean the tooth. Use this small rice-sized amount of toothpaste until age 3. For kids three and older, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth twice a day. As children approach 6 to 8 years, they can be allowed to brush their teeth with supervision. By age 8 or 9, they likely can brush independently. Replace your child’s toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.

children's dental health exam
Mom holds baby in her lap during baby's first dental exam.

Clean Baby’s Gums Regularly

After each meal, gently wipe gums with a damp washcloth to remove any debris or bacteria. Cleaning the gums will discourage cavity development and other health issues as primary teeth emerge. The cleaning of a baby’s gums also helps the baby get used to oral cleansing.

Snack Healthy And Stay Hydrated

In addition to fruits and vegetables, low-sugar, calcium-rich snacks like cheese and some yogurts can help keep childhood caries (cavities) at bay. Water in place of soda or juice is highly recommended and can be especially beneficial if your community has a fluoridated public water supply.

Incorporate Flossing

Add flossing to a child’s hygiene regimen as soon as two of their teeth touch. Like adults, children should floss once a day. Learning to floss every day is vital for healthy habit-forming behaviors for life.

Contact us soon to schedule your child’s next (or maybe first) appointment! Our goal is to show young children that the dentist’s office is not a scary place. We are here to educate our patients of all ages on the importance of a healthy mouth. Children’s dental health is key to building long-term oral habits!

We look forward to hearing from you soon!