February is the coldest month of the year. It’s the shortest month of the year, too.
And it’s when the American Dental Association celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month.
This has grown from a one-day event in Cleveland and a one-week event in Akron, OH in 1941 into a national observance by American dentists.
The goal of this month is to encourage healthy dental habits as early as possible. For citizens in and around Billings, MT, this includes brushing, flossing, and visiting Legacy Smiles dentist office for routine care.
We know your children are the most important thing in your life, and we know your children’s health is extremely important. We are taking a moment to review how your children’s oral care needs change as they grow and how you can help keep their mouths free from tooth decay and gum disease.
Oral Care Starts Early
Do you know what to do before your infant gets his or her first tooth? After feedings, you can wipe your little ones mouth with a moist cloth or piece of gauze.
When your child’s first tooth emerges, that’s when you can start brushing his or her tooth.As soon as your child has a tooth, then it’s possible to get tooth decay.All you need is a small nurdle of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). Get a small toothbrush and gently brush his or her tooth (more will be coming soon) a couple times each day.
All you need is a small nurdle of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). Get a small toothbrush and gently brush his or her tooth (more will be coming soon) a couple times each day.
We also encourage you to bring your son or daughter to our office after his or her teeth start to erupt. If we get to look at the teeth during the first visit, that’s great, but this appointment is really about introducing your child to our office and our staff.
We may do some fun things during this visit like showing your little one our water squirter or letting him or her sit in the dentist’s chair. The main thing is to start building a trusting relationship for when you come back for more serious care.
Around 3 years old, we change our approach your child’s dental care.
This is when our dental hygienist may perform your son or daughter’s first cleaning and polishing. We also will take the first X-rays of your child’s teeth.
Again, we want your child and you as the parent to feel comfortable with everything we do. If your child is not ready for a particular procedure, we can wait until a later visit.
You are welcome to remain with your child throughout his or her visit, and both of you can ask questions at any time. We want you to understand what we are doing and why we do it.
This is an important transition time for your child’s preventive care at home, too.
Between the ages of 3 and 6, your child will be ready to start brushing his or her teeth without your help. At this age, your child will need a soft-bristled toothbrush that is the right size for his or her mouth. You will want to squeeze about pea-sized nurdle of toothpaste onto the brush.
While your child may be ready to brush, it’s a good idea for you to supervise him or her. You don’t want your child to swallow the toothpaste, and you want to make sure your child brushes his or her teeth on all sides.
This is a good time to build a habit of brushing for two minutes each time twice a day. To make this more like a game, you could set a cooking timer, or you may want to download a smartphone app (like Brush DJ or the Brush Time apps).
Bye, Bye Babies
By the age of 7, we hope visits to our office have become a normal part of your family’s preventive dental care. This is an important time in your child’s life because he or she will start losing baby teeth.
As this happens, routine visits will allow us to monitor how their adult teeth are erupting. We will be on the lookout for any problems, and if needed, we may be able to take steps to correct problems early.
At home, your children should be ready to start brushing on their own without supervision. (You may still want to check on them from time to time. We’ve been told that sometimes kids don’t do what they are supposed to do.)
As more adult teeth emerge, we may discuss sealants. This is an added layer of protection for your children that could prevent him or her from having cavities.
Hopefully by this time, your teen will be capable of brushing and flossing on his or her own.
This is when your child may be ready to begin orthodontics, too. One way we can do that in our office is with Invisalign plastic aligners.
Invisalign is effective on mild to moderate orthodontic issues. With this system, your teen would receive a series of clear aligners to wear for a few weeks at a time. Every time your teen switched aligners, his or her teeth would be pushed a little closer to being straight.
For more serious orthodontic problems, we would need to discuss more traditional orthodontic treatments.
Healthy Habits Start Early
By showing your children that oral care is important, you can help them develop habits that will keep their mouths healthy throughout their lives.
We can’t stress the basics enough. Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. Floss every day. Visit Legacy Smiles for routine teeth cleanings.
Stop by our dentist office in Billings, MT any time. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Call (406) 794-3114 or use our online form to make an appointment.