Go brush your teeth. It’s a sentence I’ve said every morning and night for over 9 years like a mantra. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and along with Valentine’s Day, it’s a perfect time to share healthy dental habits for children.
I have made oral health a priority since my kids were babies (before they even started teething). Early on, I made a game out of it and created a song, “brush brush brush so your teeth don’t turn to mush”. My little dental care ditty worked until the kids were about 3 years old. When they were able to brush without much assistance, I decided to make it all about empowering them to take care of their teeth and themselves. This initiative went over well and has sustained itself in my home ever since…but the candy. The candy is a struggle. Both of my kids have a sweet tooth. Here are some facts and tips on creating healthy dental habits for children.
In late 2014, The American Academy of Pediatrics changed their oral health guidelines advising parents to begin using a smear of fluoride toothpaste at tooth eruption. Be sure to check out this link on Fluoride ingredients on the KnowYourOTCs site for helpful information along with these Oral Care facts from the CDC:
- At least 20% of children ages 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth
- Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in kids age 6-11 and adolescents age 12-19
Here are a few Oral Care Tips for Parents:
- Fluoride is an anti-cavity active ingredient available in over-the-counter (OTC) products that helps prevent tooth decay and cavities
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend using a smear of fluoridated toothpaste at tooth eruption
- Children under the age of 6 should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and be supervised in order to develop good brushing and rinsing habits and to minimize product swallowing
- Parents and caregivers should help a child brushing his or her teeth until mastery is obtained, usually around age 8
- Create a routine early on with your children that promotes healthy dental habits
When it comes to candy, I struggle with negotiating a reasonable and fair agreement with my kids. I’ve told the cautionary tales of how I was allowed to eat candy as a kid in the 80’s and never turned down the opportunity to dive into some Fun Dip, but how I’ve paid for that as an adult. I’m not sure that message is ever fully absorbed but I repeat it constantly. Limiting candy is an obvious choice and as a believer in moderation, we have rules at home that we adhere to as well.
As these two infographics highlight, healthy dental habits in children contribute to the overall health of their little growing bodies. Tomorrow, my 9-year-old son has his yearly wellness check with our pediatrician and serves as my reminder to schedule his next dental check.
I’d love to learn more about how you’ve taught your kids to brush their teeth without a struggle and what has worked well in your family.
I’m proud to join the conversation and empower parents as a blogging ambassador with the CHPA (Consumer Health Products Association) Educational Foundation and KnowYourOTCs.org. This is a sponsored post. While I have received compensation by the CHPA Educational Foundation, KnowYourOTCs, my opinions are my own.