‘Brush’ up on dental health during February

Courtesy of the 435th Dental Squadron

Preventive dental care has dramatically improved the oral health of American children. Nowadays, it is possible for many children to reach adulthood without ever experiencing tooth decay.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and the Ramstein and Sembach dental clinics offer these dental care tips from the American Dental Association for parents and caregivers:

• Take your child to see the dentist regularly, beginning by the child’s first birthday.
• Put only water in a child’s naptime or bedtime bottle.
• Start brushing as soon as the first tooth erupts.
• Begin flossing when two teeth begin to touch.
• Brush and floss your child’s teeth daily until the child can be taught to do this alone.  Then encourage him or her to brush and floss.
• Make sure your child gets the fluoride needed for decay-resistant teeth.
• Ask about dental sealants.  A sealant is a protective barrier that shields the chewing surfaces of back teeth against tooth decay.
• Encourage a low-sugar, healthy diet for your child and your family, free of high-sugar sodas and juices.
• Make sure a mouthguard is worn if your child participates in any kind of sport (these are available at the dental clinic).

In order to secure dental health for your family, good oral health practices should begin at infancy and continue throughout adult life. In your child’s early years, you must provide this care.

Later you will need to instruct, monitor, and motivate your child to help maintain good oral health habits.

Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life.