February is Children’s Dental Health Month. It’s a national health observance to encourage good oral health practices for children, resulting in beautiful smiles that last a lifetime.
Dr. David Moyer, SHS Director of Dentistry, is among the thousands of dentists across the country encouraging awareness of children’s dental health all year long.
“I want to invite parents to bring in their kids,” he said. “The earlier, the better.”
Even infants under one year should come in for dental visits, and return every year until age 4-6 when they should start dental visits twice a year.
“I want them to get used to coming to the dentist,” Dr. Moyer said.
When children and parents come for a dental exam, Dr. Moyer likes to offer suggestions to help build good habits for lifelong dental health. Some of his regular tips:
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a sugary drink in the bottle. The sugars will coat the teeth and start to accelerate decay. It’s better to give clear water at night.
- When your baby’s teeth come in, start brushing. You can start just with a tiny dab of toothpaste on your finger or on a soft brush. Get your child in the habit by brushing their teeth for them every night. By the time your child is about 4 years old, the child should be able to brush on their own.
- A fluoride rinse can be a good idea for children. Have your child swish it around for 30 seconds after brushing to prevent bacterial formations and help prevent cavities.
- Stay away from sodas! They’re not good for your health or your teeth. The carbonation, acids and sugars –even if it’s a diet formula – all can eat away at the enamel tooth covering. Juices aren’t much better. Plain ol’ water is usually the best.
Dr. Moyer encourages regular dental visits for all kids, and he also works with the Mid-America Head Start program to make it easier to reach kids who might not be able to make it to a dental office.
The SHS mobile dental service offers exams, X-rays, cleanings and application of fluorides and sealants to children at schools, YMCA and other Head Start locations.
The SHS Head Start program is developing regular schedules for those visits, either for a half-day or full day of appointments, every day of the week at different outreach locations.
Have your kids been to the dentist lately? It’s a good time to get them in for a visit and help them learn some healthy tips for bright smiles to last a lifetime. Call us at 816-923-5800 to make an appointment.