Keeping Your Children’s Teeth Healthy

dental healthBy: Ms. Angy, ECFE Blog Writer

I have noticed over the past few years of teaching, that more and more children are getting cavities at a younger age.  I was surprised at my daughter’s dentist visit when we went from no cavities to three in just 6 months!  That is when I decided to work with my daughter’s dentist to try to put a stop to her path of future tooth decay.  I came across some great tips to aid in the prevention of cavities:

  1. Reduce the frequency of sugary drinks and foods.  Juice, pop, and sticky candies should be avoided or limited.  My daughter’s dentist informed me to even stay away from gummy vitamins.  They stick to the teeth for a long period of time, which can contribute to cavities and tooth decay.
  2. Don’t put children over one year of age to bed with a bottle filled with juice or milk.  Just put water in the bottle  unless it is mealtime.  A sippy cup with juice and milk not used for meals is another factor for cavities.  Put water in sippy cups instead and try to switch to a small glass or cup for mealtime by age two.
  3. Get your child to the dentist by one year of age. That way dental problems can be detected early while creating good dental habits from the beginning.
  4. Brush teeth and/or gums at least twice a day (or after meals).  Even when babies have no teeth it is suggested to wipe gums off with damp wash cloth after feedings and begin brushing once teeth appear with non-fluoride toothpaste.  A small amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used around two years old.  It is best to begin flossing at this age too.  Brushing should last at least one minute and parents should have a turn at brushing their child’s teeth until their child is old enough to brush on their own (around 7 years old) while increasing brushing time to two minutes.
  5. Children should drink water with fluoride instead of bottled water.  If your community does not have city water treated with fluoride or if well water is used, talk to your child’s dentist or pediatrician about fluoride supplements.
    1. I found a great resource with oral health advice and articles for parents and fun games and activities for kids.  Just click on: http://www.colgate.com/app/Kids-World/US/HomePage.cvsp
    2. If dental care assistance is needed, Give Kids a Smile is a charitable outreach event coordinated each year by the Minnesota Dental Association.

This year’s 2013 event will be on February 1st and 2nd.  For more information go to “Give Kids a Smile -Minnesota” on Facebook or you can receive reminders and updates about this program by signing up for e-mail notices at gkas@mndental.org.  You can contact the Minnesota Dental Association by phone at: 612-767-8400 or their website at: http://www.mndental.org/public_home/about_us/give_kids_a_smile/.

You can also find information on reduced of free dental care at:

http://www.mndental.org/public_home/about_us/give_kids_a_smile/resources_for_ongoing_care/.

As a parent, I am trying my best to follow these suggested tips while visiting the dentist for regular check-ups twice a year.  We have purchased fun toothpaste and toothbrushes to help with teeth brushing motivation.  What are some things that you have tried at home to help encourage positive dental health with your child?

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