National Children’s Dental Health Month


February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

Let’s Help Our Children “Brush, Floss, Smile”

Having proudly served the smiles of Ahwatukee families since 2001, and voted as Ahwatukee’s Best Dentist, Dr. E and her caring team are passionate about helping children develop good lifelong dental habits. With February being deemed National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), the Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry team wants to highlight the following valuable oral hygiene facts and tips geared toward empowering our youngest patients (and their caregivers) through healthy smiles.

Alarming Statistics about Children’s Oral Health

Many adults mistakenly downplay the importance of taking care of baby teeth. But, in reality, baby teeth are essential to the long-term health and appearance of permanent teeth. That’s why every parent and caregiver should educate themselves and be aware of these critical facts about children’s dental health:

  • Early childhood tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease — but it is also highly preventable!
  • The ADA claims that more than 40% of children suffer from tooth decay before they even reach Kindergarten.
  • The CDC reports that one in five children ages 5-11 have at least one untreated, decayed tooth.
  • Studies show that children with poor oral heath are three times more likely to miss school due to dental pain.
  • Research reflects that delaying dental care can negatively impact oral health; yet 40% of parents and caregivers admit to delaying their child’s first visit to the dentist.

Start Good Dental Habits Early!

As the statistics above indicate, dental health needs to start well before that monumental first trip to the dentist! Parents of infants need to be aware that tooth decay in baby teeth is no small matter. Baby bottle tooth decay can occur when acid lingers and attacks the healthy enamel on baby teeth. If left untreated, tooth decay in baby teeth can then lead to serious issues such as pain, infections, difficulty eating and problems with speech development due to tooth crowding. Poor oral health in young children puts them at risk for oral infections that can enter the bloodstream and lead to other serious health problems, while also allowing harmful bacteria to impact future adult teeth. That’s why it is never too early to teach and practice good oral hygiene.

Teaching Children to “Brush, Floss, Smile!”

The ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention has deemed “Brush, Floss, Smile!” to be the theme of National Children’s Dental Health Month 2023. That’s because these three simple steps are SO easy for caregivers and their little ones to learn and remember. In that spirit, here are some tips that align with this fun, yet important, dental theme:

  • Clean baby’s gums daily with a damp washcloth
  • Never let baby sleep with a bottle
  • Encourage children to brush and floss at least twice daily
  • Brush for at least two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush every 3-4 months
  • Make oral hygiene fun! For example, involve your child in selecting a colorful or character-themed toothbrush and let them choose their favorite flavor floss. Play a song they love for two minutes while they brush — you get the idea!
  • Promote healthy habits by steering kids toward water, fruits and veggies and away from sugary treats and drinks that can cause cavities and tooth decay
  • Make oral hygiene an established routine at home so that children develop healthy lifelong dental habits
  • Visit a pediatric or family dentist at least twice annually for thorough cleanings and check ups

While it literally may be your dentist’s job to keep teeth healthy and strong, adults and caregivers are ultimately responsible for teaching and modeling proper oral hygiene at home. During National Children’s Dental Health Month and beyond, make oral health a priority in order to help our youngest patients build lifelong habits that lead to healthy, sparkling smiles!

Is it time for your little one’s next dental visit? Contact the Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry team today! 480-494-2435.