By: Jacqueline St. Pierre, DMD
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! It is important for all children to go to the dentist regularly, every six months, just like adults! Children need to start coming to the dentist around their first birthday. At this visit, parents can expect the dentist to look at the child’s teeth, clean them and apply fluoride. This visit is also important to educate the parents about how often to brush their children’s teeth (twice a day!), when to floss (every night!), and the importance of not going to bed with a bottle or cup of milk or juice. Your child should always go to bed with clean teeth!
In addition to regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist, fluoride can help keep your child’s teeth cavity free! Your child may be getting fluoride every day because it is added to many local water supplies, including the Boston area, but sadly it is lacking from many areas on the Cape. Fluoride is important because it helps make the teeth stronger to protect against the main causes of cavities. It can even reverse the beginning stages of cavities! When your child comes in for their cleaning, they will receive fluoride varnish painted onto their teeth. Fluoride varnish may even be applied when your child visits their pediatrician, particularly for their yearly physical exams! You should talk to your dentist about fluoride to determine if your child is getting enough on a regular basis. In order to make sure that the teeth are properly cleaned, you should continue to help brush your child’s teeth until about age 6. A good guide is that when your child is able to tie their own shoes, they are capable of brushing their own teeth. At this point, parents should still check to make sure the child has done a good job and that the teeth are clean and they may still need to assist with flossing. This is also around the age that your child can start to use an over-the-counter fluoride mouthwash and your dentist will let you know if they recommend this.
We look forward to seeing you and your child at their next visit to the dentist!
Join us for FREE children’s dental screenings in Dorchester and Plymouth!