February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the Michigan Dental Association reminds you that it’s easy to help make your child’s smile last a lifetime. A balanced diet, limited snacks, daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental checkups are the keys to healthy teeth and gums.
Attitudes and habits formed at an early age are important for good oral health throughout life. Check out these helpful children’s dental health habits:
The baby teeth are very important for chewing, speaking and appearance. One serious form of children’s tooth decay is called baby bottle tooth decay, or early childhood tooth decay. This condition is caused when infants’ teeth are exposed to drinks that contain sugar, such as milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks. If you must give your baby a bottle at naptime or bedtime, make sure it contains only water.
As your child’s permanent teeth come in, talk to your dentist about having dental sealants applied to protect teeth from decay. A dental sealant is a clear material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where decay most often occurs. The sealant protects teeth from bacteria and the acid that attacks enamel.
Accidents Can Happen
Active children should have mouth protection to keep them safe from injuries to the face, tongue and lips. Also ask your dentist for advice on the proper mouthguard for your child, whether he or she is playing a contact sport like football or just having fun bike riding or inline skating. If an accident does happen, be sure to call your dentist as soon as possible.