National Children's Dental Health Month 2023

Smile, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

In February, the American Dental Association (ADA) celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM).

According to the ADA, “This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others.”

Now more than ever, this is the perfect opportunity for Wilton Smiles Dentistry to remind our patients and the community about the importance of practicing good oral health habits. 

Let’s Brush Up On Pediatric Oral Health 

During NCDHM (and all year long!), here are a few simple reminders about safeguarding the oral health of the young people in your life.

Schedule regular dental visits.

It’s recommended by dental experts that children should go to the dentist for the first time as a baby—either when the child’s first tooth appears OR on his/her first birthday. This visit sets the foundation for good dental care. 

Following this first visit, your child won’t need another appointment until the age of 3 or 4, after which they should see their dentist every 6 months. These visits typically entail a thorough dental exam and cleaning, and depending on their age a fluoride treatment and x-ray.

Here at Wilton Smiles, we believe in a proactive approach to dentistry and establishing good oral hygiene practices at an early age. We pride ourselves on our warm and welcoming office environment so that even our youngest patients will love coming to see us!

Be mindful of what they are eating and drinking. 

Nutrition has a big impact on oral health. With so many food and beverage choices available today, it’s important for parents and caregivers to be consistent and diligent about monitoring a child’s diet.

Reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay by incorporating these tips: 

  • Sugar on teeth leads to bacteria, which can produce acid and ultimately decay enamel, so it’s best to limit candy, junk foods, starchy snacks, soda, and other sugary drinks 
  • Monitor beverage consumption and emphasize healthy choices like water and low-fat milk
  • Limit between meal snacks. If they crave a snack, offer healthier, more nutritious choices such as fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, or meat and cheese roll-ups

Help your children develop good brushing and flossing habits.

During NCDHM and beyond, the ADA recommends that children and even adults brush their teeth 2 times a day for at least 2 minutes. Brushing should ideally happen in the morning after breakfast and then again in the evening after dinner. Remember to replace toothbrushes every 3 or 4 months, depending on the signs of wear.

Brushing in the morning freshens a child’s breath and ensures their teeth have been properly cleaned after breakfast, while the evening brush removes any sugar, acid, or excess, aiding good oral health throughout the night while asleep. Flossing should happen ideally 1 time per day. 

Depending on your child’s age, they may need your help assisting them with both brushing and flossing.

 

Be prepared for dental emergencies.

From injuries to an abscessed tooth, dental emergencies can happen. Knowing what to do can lessen the pain and potentially avoid further trauma.

Keep our office phone number with you at all times and post it visibly in your home with other emergency numbers like a family doctor and fire and police departments. Should an emergency arise during non-office hours, we’ll provide you with an emergency number where someone from our team can be reached.  

Here are some quick tips for common dental injuries/emergencies:

Toothache: Clean out your child’s mouth with warm water and use dental floss to gently remove or debris near the infected tooth. Avoid putting aspirin or another painkiller against the gums near an aching tooth, as it can burn gum tissue. Painkillers will temporarily relieve pain, but schedule an appointment immediately to get the tooth evaluated. 

Knocked-out (avulsed) tooth: Kids are active and it’s common for a tooth to be knocked out playing sports, on the playground, or even in the backyard. If possible, try to find the tooth! If you’re able to locate it, hold the tooth by the crown and if dirty, rinse the root in water. Be careful with the tooth and don’t remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert the tooth and hold it in its socket while heading to the dentist. If not, keep the tooth in a cup of milk and bring it with you. Time is of the essence if a tooth can be reimplanted, so get to the dentist immediately!

Broken tooth: Clean your child’s mouth with a warm water rinse and apply cold compresses on the outside of the cheek to help reduce the swelling. Call your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment.

Possible broken jaw: Control swelling with cold compresses and take your child to hospital emergency room immediately.

 

Ready to get your children’s visit scheduled? Contact us today!

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