National Children's Dental Health Month

National Children's Dental Health Month is just around the corner – February is the month set aside to help educate parents and children about the importance of oral hygiene and to encourage them to brush and floss their teeth for a healthy smile. Many dentists and dental clinics offer special activities during this month that are just for children. With that in mind, here's some information from Great Lakes Dental about the basics of tooth care for kids.

Start Early

When a baby first comes home from the hospital, it's time to start oral hygiene. For the littlest ones, we recommend rubbing the gums with a wet washcloth. Until the child is old enough to brush, parents should perform that task, and even afterward, supervision is often necessary to ensure a thorough cleaning. To encourage children to brush long enough, parents might make a game of the process - read a book during brushing or sing a song.

Do It Right

Oral hygiene is like any other health care activity; doing it correctly it makes a difference. First, frequency – brushing should be a twice-daily activity (that's the minimum). Toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and short, back and forth strokes on all tooth surfaces and the tongue. Vertical strokes are required for the inside of the front teeth. Flossing should be done once a day, by curving the floss around the tooth in a "C" shape and rubbing it up and down. Regular preventive dental care means a visit to the dentist twice a year. Sealants may also be helpful - ask the dentist.

Keep It Healthy

A healthy diet and the right snacks can make a difference in the health of a child's smile. Sugar is the great enemy of teeth and refined carbohydrates are right behind. Better choices: fresh fruits and vegetables – especially those that are crunchy like celery and apples – have some natural tooth-cleaning action. Cheese and yogurt offer calcium and protein for strong teeth. Leafy dark green vegetables are also high in calcium.

At Great Lakes Dental in Mentor, Ohio, we really care about children's teeth. We offer the advances of modern dentistry in a warm and friendly atmosphere and do everything we can to help children have a healthy smile from childhood throughout their lives. Please contact us and take advantage of National Children's Dental Health Month with a visit.