February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and it’s a time to focus on the importance of keeping our kids’ teeth and gums healthy. One of the main messages of this month is that it’s never too early to start taking care of our little ones’ teeth. It’s recommended that children visit the dentist as soon as their first tooth comes in or no later than their first birthday. This recommendation helps children acclimate to coming to the dentist from a very young age where it will feel more normal to them as they get older.  Additionally, we can screen for potential problems and also make sure parent behaviors are best aligned with prevention of dental problems in their growing children so that healthy habits are developed for their entire life. 

Early Education 

Teaching kids (and parents) about the importance of healthy eating habits and making oral hygiene fun can help them to develop good habits for a lifetime. This includes encouraging them to brush twice a day, when and how to properly integrate fluoride toothpaste, flossing, limiting sugary foods and drinks, and what to expect with teething and the transition of teeth. 

Reduced Dental Anxiety 

Did you know that scheduling prevention-based dental care at a young age can help reduce your child’s risk of dental phobia in the future? Early, fun visits help familiarize kids with our dental team, so that visits are always something to look forward to and at a minimum not scary due to familiarity. 

Preventing Problems Before They Start 

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that kids see their (pediatric) dentist at least twice a year. These regular visits help to detect any problems early—including developmental needs—to provide early intervention that’s more conservative, less invasive and more affordable. In fact, most children’s dental concerns can be prevented with consistent professional care, proper home care/oral hygiene and the occasional minimal intervention.  

Resources for Parents, Teachers  

National Children’s Dental Health Month is a time to focus on keeping our kids’ teeth and gums healthy well into adulthood. You can download free activity sheets for National Children’s Dental Health Month from the ADA here 

Screening for Orthodontic Problems 

Most orthodontic problems start as small issues.  Some problems, when left unaddressed for too long, can become big issues in time.  Our pediatric dentists are experts at detecting abnormalities when it comes to orthodontic issues, also.  They know when to refer to our board certified orthodontists and support the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists that all children are screened for orthodontic problems by age 7.  This way, we can help make sure any problems your child faces remain small and easier to fix. 

If your child is due for their next—or first—dental checkup, contact Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan today to schedule.