pediatric dentistry of central iowa's ankeny location is kid friendly and has a welcoming environment
"Creating and caring for beautiful little smiles since 1975"

February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month

The American Dental Association and pediatric dentists across the country celebrate National Children’s Dental Health month in February. Working together, they educate children and families on how to develop good habits early in life.

Tooth decay is a common disease in both children and adults. The good news is that it can be prevented. Below are some tips you can start today with your children to reduce their risk of developing tooth decay and building a foundation for oral health now.

Practice Dental Hygiene Together

Make a commitment together as a family to promote good oral health at home. Kids often learn best by following examples. Being a role model for proper dental care is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. If you have questions of what else you can do at home, ask your dentist for recommendations. The below list will get you started:

Brush teeth

Twice daily to remove sugar, excess food, and harmful plaque. This will help reduce the risk of cavities and increase tooth and gum health.

Floss

Reduces the risk of gum disease, removes stuck food, and keeps teeth and gums healthy, happy, and clean. Flossing also reduces the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Choose Healthy Snacks

Your body needs healthy snacks to stay active and in top shape. The same is true with your teeth. Foods such as apples, nuts, and cheese are easy snacks to find and are simple to pack for your children’s lunch.

Schedule Regular Dental Visits

Preventative care is the first step in good oral health. You should see your pediatric dentist twice a year for regular checkups. Many things change with children as they age and grow, including: baby teeth coming in, losing baby teeth, and permanent teeth arriving.

Wear a Mouthguard

If you children play sports, mouthguards can reduce the risk of concussion, loss of teeth, and biting their tongue. This can greatly reduce the risk of injury. You can learn more about the effectiveness of mouthguards in a previous blog where we talked about keeping kid athletes’ teeth safe.

Make Cleaning Teeth Fun

For some children, brushing their teeth is the last thing on their mind. It can be stressful to get them to sit still and brush their teeth. Once they are at an age where they don’t want help, or want to do it themselves, try some of these ideas to keep your children’s teeth stay healthy and clean.

Play Their Favorite Song

We all know getting children out the door in the morning can be a difficult task. Brushing your children’s teeth could easily take a back seat on limited time. To help them stay on task, play a fun song for them to listen to while they brush. Sometimes it can be beneficial to pick a favorite song that you brush to with your kids. Allow the music to motivate them and ease the stress of getting out the door on time.

Count Brushes Together

If your child knows their numbers and enjoys counting, count together! Your child should brush teeth for two minutes, or 120 seconds. If they don’t want to count with you while doing it, we recommend using a cell phone timer to help reassure they reach the two minute mark.

Chart Dental Progress

Create a daily sheet that shows how often your children should be brushing their teeth. You can download this sheet and print it for your home.

Pediatric Dentistry and Children’s Oral Health

Good oral health is important to your child’s development. You may have questions about what’s best for your child, the good news is that we can help! Learn more about our doctors before your first visit. We want you to have all the information you would like to know when you visit one of our offices. You can read about our frequently asked questions. They can help you prepare for your visit and better understand good oral health!

Are you looking for a dental office for your child? Take a few minutes to learn about our services we can provide you and your family. If you are new to our office, review what to expect on your first visit. You can also learn more about our doctors before your first appointment with us. If your children are newborns young and don’t yet have teeth, you can still prepare them for the future.
February encourages healthcare providers, teachers, dentists, care providers, and parents to educate children to the importance of oral health. You can start building those habits today. Call now to schedule your child’s checkup, cleaning, and x-rays today. If February is too busy or cold, don’t hesitate to schedule for the upcoming spring break. We look forward to seeing you!