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February is Children’s Dental Health Month. This is a great time to promote daily oral health habits to children, parents, and caregivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States. In Orange County 1 in 2 kindergartners have cavities. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Daily oral health practices started at an early age can help maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout life.
It is important that all children brush their teeth twice (2) a day for two (2) minutes. Small children may need the help of an adult to brush their teeth until they are able to learn good brushing skills. Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow. If the child is unable to spit out, a rice grain sized amount of toothpaste should be used.
Healthy smile tips for children of all ages from the American Dental Association:
- Brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss between teeth daily.
- Eat healthy foods and limit sugary foods and drinks.
- See the dentist twice a year.
- Drink tap water that contains fluoride.
Children’s teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and a healthy smile is important to a child’s self-esteem. With proper care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits, their teeth can remain healthy and strong.
More ways to help your child maintain good oral health: