29 SEP 2017 Dental Hygiene Month: Dental Care For
Staff | December 2018
October is National Dental Hygiene Month. We celebrate all the work our dental hygienists do for our teeth and also raise awareness of strong oral health.
Good oral health is for everyone, too, whether you’re a child, a teenager, a millennial, middle-aged or in your golden years. There is no time in your life when you can be a “slacker” about your teeth.
So, for this month, in honor of National Dental Hygiene Month, we want to start at the beginning when the baby teeth are still in place. Their tiny teeth need proper care, too.
According to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Dental Care guidelines for your infant to two year-old should include the following:
- Set an appointment for your pediatric dentist as soon as the first tooth appears. It should be no later than their first birthday. You should see your pediatric dentist every six months for proper dental care. Your dentist will most likely make recommendations based on your child’s dental health needs.
- Primary or “baby teeth” are important for several reasons. These teeth help them form words and also chew food properly. So, these teeth must be cleaned regularly.
- You should begin using toothpaste as soon as the first tooth appears! Parents need to use only a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush the baby teeth. Brush them twice a day using a soft, small, age-appropriate toothbrush. Also, brush gently so as not to damage, or dislodge the teeth.
- Your child’s diet is also crucial to their dental health. It should be a balanced diet including one serving each day of fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads and milk. They should eat very little sugars and starches, which tend to cause early tooth decay and gum disease. Your pediatric dentist may make dietary recommendations based on your child’s medical and oral health needs.
- If your child is nursing and you are concerned with tooth decay from it, there are several preventative measures you can take: don’t nurse them to sleep; fill their water bottle with only water and not milk and gently floss their teeth regularly.
- Thumb sucking or pacifiers are not recognized as behavior causing dental care issues. In fact, it should not cause any tooth decay at all unless it goes beyond three years old. If they are still sucking their thumb after three, your pediatric dentist can fit them for an appliance that should eventually end that habit.
Pediatric dental care is crucial for that infant to two-year-old. Don’t make the mistake that baby teeth are temporary and therefore do not need to be cared for. In fact, baby teeth and dental hygiene early on may have an impact on oral health throughout their lives.