Dental health should start early.

February was National Children’s Dental Health Month, but you and your children should think about Dental Health all year long. It’s a great opportunity to make sure you’re on top of your child’s dental hygiene.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is 100 percent preventable. About 1 in 5 kids aged 5 to 11 years old have at least one untreated decayed tooth.

Here are some ways you can be proactive about your child’s oral health:


Don’t Wait

As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, you can start oral hygiene practices, wiping their teeth clean with a damp cloth or soft brush before moving to a toothbrush.

Cavities can start at an early age. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that kids should be seen by their first birthday or within 6 months of their first tooth coming in.


Practice Proper Brushing Technique

You can help your young child brush their teeth with training toothpaste and a small toothbrush. Only a small smear of toothpaste is needed. Because your young child may not be able to hold a toothbrush or maneuver it correctly, you should stay with them for best results.

Teach Children to Brush Twice Daily

For school-age children, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste will keep away tooth decay. Children should also be flossing twice a day to remove plaque between teeth before it hardens into tartar.

Help Your Child Keep a Balanced Diet

The dentist can partner with you to create a plan to keep your child’s mouth healthy. In everyday life, a balanced diet of vitamins and minerals, calcium and phosphorous not only helps general health, but it can also help keep their teeth strong. Sugary foods like juices, flavored milk, pop, and candy should be avoided. Dentists recommend avoiding giving children juice in sippy cups, which can lead to cavities due to extra sugar exposure.


A dentist can help you determine whether your child might need sealants, which are protective coatings applied to the back chewing teeth that can help protect against decay and reduce cavities.