February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

The early portion of a child’s life is when everything is starting to take shape. Personalities emerge, hobbies are learned, and habits form.

It almost goes without saying, then, that embracing the importance of good oral hygiene early-on in a child’s life is crucially important. The American Dental Association agrees, since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.

According to the ADA, children can and should start visiting the dentist at the age of 6 months, with bi-yearly checkups. While they will not have a full mouth of teeth anywhere near that age, it is important to make sure that everything is in place for when the teeth do start coming in.

Before that day, dentists recommend wiping childrens’ gums and mouths with a clean wash cloth, as that can help remove bacteria for when the teeth do come in. Once that first tooth does pop through, you can begin tooth brushing right away, but it is extremely important to get a toothbrush made specifically for an infant mouth, as the bristles will need to be much softer than yours.

The tooth brushing should take place right before a child goes to bed, where they should not have any bottles or other objects, as rotting could take place. The toothbrush you use should be small enough for their mouth, yet large enough to reach all areas. It is strongly recommended that you make a game out of brushing teeth, so that children will enjoy doing it on their own. As always, though, parents are encouraged to inspect afterwards just to make sure the children didn’t miss any spots.

If you ingrain a good oral hygiene regimen with your children at a young age, it will likely follow them throughout their adult lives, and keep them out of that much trouble later on in life.

If you are concerned about your children’s teeth, or if you ever see discolored teeth, or lumps, bumps, or sores, contact a dentist right away. The sooner you can, the easier the fix will be.