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Brush, Brush, Brush: Children’s Dental Health Month

Did you know tooth decay can occur as soon as a child’s first tooth appears?

Helping your children maintain good dental health is incredibly important to their developmental growth. The American Dental Association has declared February National Children’s Dental Health Month to remind parents and caregivers that a healthy mouth affects overall health.

Bacteria in the mouth can eventually cause other health problems.  Untreated cavities in young children can significantly affect their body weight, growth and quality of life. Decay can cause pain, especially when eating.

Tooth decay is more common than you’d think.

An Arkansas Department of Health’s Office of Oral Health study found that 64% of children enrolled in schools throughout the state had evidence of current or past cavities. The good news? It’s easily preventable.

Start good habits early

It’s never too early to begin a lifetime of good dental health.

Brushing and flossing is basic good oral hygiene. Teaching your child these good habits will improve your child’s long-term health.

The American Dental Association recommends scheduling your child’s first dental visit after the first tooth appears or before their first birthday. A dentist will check for cavities and help with preventive measures, as needed, to decrease future cavities.

Brushing twice daily using a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste along with flossing is important for kids of all ages, as cavities can take hold early.

It’s not always easy to get a toothbrush into your infant’s or toddler’s mouth. Studies show, though, that introducing a toothbrush early in life leads to less resistance to brushing. When the first tooth appears, give your child a toothbrush to chew on. This will help distract from teething pain and introduce the sensation of bristles.

The power of fluoride

Fluoride is one of the most important tools in the fight against cavities. It’s a natural mineral with superpowers that protect and strengthens teeth. It replaces minerals, reduces tooth decay, and helps rebuild weak teeth and reverse early signs of damage.

Sealants can stop cavities before they start

Sealants are a thin covering painted on the chewing surfaces of back teeth (molars). Ninty percent of cavities occur in the back teeth, which do most of the chewing and are hard to reach and clean. Sealants protect teeth by blocking plaque and bacteria and an prevent the expense and pain of treatments like fillings and crowns. When applied to kids’ teeth, sealants can save a lot of money over a lifetime.

Talk to your dentist about whether your child might need extra fluoride treatments or sealants to help ensure healthy teeth as they grow.

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