February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Help promote Children’s Dental Health Month by sharing with parents and caregivers the importance of good oral health habits and routine dental checkups to help children get a good start on a lifetime of strong teeth and healthy gums.
Dental checkups are an essential part of a child’s dental care routine.
Dental checkups are an important part of preventive health care. Routine dental visits, every six (6) months can help prevent tooth decay and other dental problems in children.
- Routine checkups allow a dentist to find and treat any dental concerns, such as cavities in their early stages, before they can cause pain and infections that can affect a child’s nutrition, speech, and overall health.
- Seeing the dentist regularly can help a child develop a positive attitude toward dental visits. Routine dental visits, starting at a young age can help children feel less frightened about return visits and help them develop a good relationship with their dentist.
- Children’s dental visits are also important for parents and caregivers. This is a great time to receive oral health tips on good brushing and flossing methods and other oral care resources to help children with their daily dental care.
Dental sealants help prevent cavities.
During a child’s dental checkup, the dentist may suggest applying a dental sealant or fluoride varnish to reduce the risk of cavities.
- Dental sealants are a type of special plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) to protect them from cavities.
- The special thin coating flows into the pits and grooves of the molars and hardens quickly so a child can chew right away.
- Dental sealants help prevent 80% of cavities in the molars, where nine (9) in ten (10) cavities occur. Sealants can protect against cavities for two (2) years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to four (4) years (NIH).
- Fluoride varnish is another protective treatment that can help prevent tooth decay.
- The varnish is made with fluoride, which helps strengthen the enamel, the tooth’s outer layer. The varnish is painted on the top and sides of each tooth.
- Sealants and varnishes are quick, easy, and painless.
- Sealants and varnishes work best when a child follows a daily dental clean routine of brushing and flossing.
Dental visits are safer than ever.
Many dental offices have reopened safely and continue to follow safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The safety of patients and staff is the dentist’s top priority. During your child’s dental visit, the dental provider may:
- Ask pre-screening questions.
- Ask you to wear a face mask while in the office.
- Ask you to practice safe distancing in the waiting area.
Check with your local dental office about their safety guidelines.
More resources to support children’s routine dental visits.
Watch a short video from the ADA to learn how dental sealants are applied and how it helps prevent cavities.
Smile Habits OC has a dental office safety video and four (4) public service announcements (PSAs) in English and Spanish to help families feel safe seeing a dentist and the importance of daily dental care among children. Please post and share.