“Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles!” is this year’s campaign for National Children’s Dental Health Month. This is the perfect time to schedule your child’s dental cleaning in Berkeley CA and make sure they’re following good oral health habits each and every day.

Here are some oral health tips and considerations to brush up on this month.

First Visit

It’s never too early to focus on your child’s oral health, but the American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends parents take their child to the dentist by their first tooth or first birthday. During this time, parents can ask questions and address dental concerns at the first visit, whereby the dentist will swab your child’s mouth gently to check their gums and any teeth that may have erupted. Your child’s dentist can then continue to monitor their progress, especially during teething, and put preventative measures in place to protect your baby’s teeth.

Prevent Tooth Decay

Early childhood tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, impacting even more kids than asthma. The ADA says that more than 40 percent of children have tooth decay by the time they are in kindergarten, and those with poor oral health are 3x more likely to miss school because of dental pain.

Tooth decay involves the destruction of tooth enamel – the hard, outer layer of your teeth. When plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, is allowed to form and stay on your teeth, it keeps acids against your teeth that can break down enamel. That’s when cavities can form, warns the ADA.

Here are some tips for preventing tooth decay:

  • Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use floss or interdental cleaner every day.
  • Eat nutritious and well-balanced meals while limiting snacking.
  • Ask your dentist about using supplemental fluoride, which is designed to strengthen your teeth, as well as the use of dental sealants that can be applied to the chewing surface of the back teeth to prevent decay (that’s the most common area where it starts).
  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and oral exams.

How to Maintain Your Child’s Oral Health

Follow these oral health tips to start your children on their way to a lifetime of healthy smiles.

  • Schedule routine dental check-ups. These should occur every six months, or twice a year.
  • Before their teeth come in, clean your baby’s gums every day by wiping a damp washcloth over them to remove harmful bacteria after each feeding.
  • When the first tooth arrives, start brushing it every day with an infant toothbrush. Use a rice-sized portion of fluoride toothpaste and some water and gently brush it.
  • Brush for two minutes twice a day. Kids between the ages of two and six need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Keep an eye on kids under six years old while brushing so that they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
  • Once their teeth begin to touch, start flossing between them.
  • Promote healthy snacks, and avoid fruit juice, fruit snacks, sports drinks, and sticky candies. Instead, try calcium-rich snacks such as low-sugar yogurt or cheese. If you must give a treat, a chocolate bar is better than gummy or sticky sweets that are tough to get out of teeth even after they brush.
  • Keep your kids hydrated. Stay away from sugary drinks and give water instead, which is best at rinsing sugar or particles that can result in cavities. Bonus if your municipal water source contains fluoride, as recommended by the American Dental Association and U.S. Surgeons General.
  • Replace their toothbrush every three to four months, or whenever they have been sick.
  • If your child wears braces, make sure they visit the orthodontist and the dentist as recommended.

Calling All Pregnant Moms!

It’s important to protect your teeth even when pregnant, which is when you’re at a higher risk of gum disease and cavities. These, in turn, can negatively affect your baby’s health. See the dentist before you deliver (don’t worry, it’s safe), brush your teeth twice daily, and floss every day.

If you experience nausea, rinse out your mouth with one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water after getting sick. This will wash away stomach acid and protect your tooth enamel, says the CDC.

Book Your Child’s Dental Appointment With Ashby Dental in Elmwood

National Children’s Dental Health Month is the perfect reminder to make sure you have a dental cleaning on the books for your kids. To book an appointment for pediatric cleaning, call us at (510) 549-0133. We are located at 2507 Ashby Ave. in Berkeley, CA, open Mondays through Thursdays 8am to 4pm and Fridays 8am to 1pm.