Healthy habits for your children’s smile

Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness around the importance of good oral health, especially for younger children.

Developing good habits at an early age is extremely important in helping your kids get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. But how can you, as parents, ensure that these habits are created? Try the following simple steps to help your children’s teeth get the care they need from the beginning:

  • Start oral care early: Don’t wait! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your child should see a dentist by the time he or she is a one-year-old.
  • Teach proper oral hygiene habits: It’s never too early to begin brushing patterns! Even before your baby has teeth, you can gently brush the gums, using water on a soft baby toothbrush, or clean them with a soft washcloth. Consult your dentist as soon as your child has even one tooth for specific brushing techniques for their smile.
  • Control the sippy cup: Often times, the juice in sippy cups can become a serious culprit to your child’s oral health. Excessive juice consumption has been linked to childhood obesity and the development of tooth decay, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Have fun with oral health: Getting your children to brush and floss doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Find different age-appropriate ways to get your child involved, such as allowing them to pick out their favorite toothbrush at the store. Or try one of these fun activities to can get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.

Talking to your children about the importance of oral health can be a rewarding experience for both you and your child, and can help create healthy habits that will last a lifetime. If you still need help finding ways to educate your children about their teeth, check out some of these free resources that can help guide your discussion and teach your children healthy habits early.

About Dr. Gary Vance

Dr. Vance has been a practicing dentist for more than 35 years and is currently a dental associate at a private practice in Plymouth, Mich. He graduated from the University of Detroit’s School of Dentistry and is a member of the American Dental Association, Michigan Dental Association, Detroit District Dental Society and the American Association of Dental Consultants. Dr. Vance has been a dental consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for the past 15 years and is the newest blogger for A Healthier Michigan.


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