February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), and the American Dental Association (ADA), as well as thousands of dental health professionals and educators are using the observance to declare war on sugar and to educate and inform people of the importance of proper dental hygiene, particularly in little ones.
Here, one of those dental health professionals, pediatric dentist Deborah Troy, DDS, of RyeSmiles Pediatric Dentistry, shares four tips for keeping your child’s pearly whites pearly, white, and healthy.
1. Is your child giving you a hard time brushing at night for an adequate amount of time? Try brushing their teeth in the bathtub. Distraction may sometimes be the key to gaining your child’s cooperation for brushing more easily and effectively.
2. Don’t let your child be a “grazer.” Children who constantly eat snacks throughout the day can create a cavity-promoting environment. Limit the number and frequency of snacks/carbs your child eats, and choose healthy snacks like fruit or vegetables, or even cheese.
3. Bottle use in infants should be discouraged after one year of age. Up until that age, infants who use a bottle should finish their bottle before naps or bedtime. After one year, you should encourage your child to transition to a valve-less sippy cup, which teaches a child to sip and not suck. Never allow your child to sip sweetened drinks over a prolonged period of time or walk around with the cup in their mouth. Once they have learned to sip, discontinue the sippy cup; it’s done its job.
4. Use videos and apps to your advantage. There are many brushing apps and videos that can help that fidgety kid brush for a full two minutes. Visit 2min2x.org for two-minute videos to help capture your child’s interest and cooperation with brushing.