Say cheese! It's Children's Dental Health Month
Feb. 1, 2023
By Katie Minor
Do you remember the first time you brushed your teeth? You were most likely too young to remember. How about the second time? Third? You probably don’t remember that either. But as an adult, you brush your teeth every day — and you probably don’t even think about it anymore.
This is the goal of Children’s Dental Health Month. Helping your little one develop good oral hygiene will lead to habits that last the rest of their lives.
Oral health seems like a small subset of our bodies, but it’s actually central to our overall health. Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and even permanent damage to the teeth and jaw.
We know it can be difficult getting kids to brush their teeth or visit the dentist. And remember, that’s totally normal! Just like you and me, children value their own autonomy, and being forced to take care of their teeth can be daunting. There are plenty of ways to get kids into the habit of good oral hygiene.
Make brushing fun! Let them pick out a fun toothbrush and toothpaste — with the right amount of fluoride, of course. Brush your teeth along with your child. You can even find ways to make brushing into a fun game. Put on your kid’s favorite song and have a dance party while you brush!
Help your child floss. Kids usually have difficulty gripping the floss and using the right technique to clean their teeth. You can get single-use floss sticks to help your child get into the habit of flossing regularly.
It’s normal for a lot of kids to dislike going to the dentist, but there are ways to combat that fear. Play pretend dentist at home to prepare your child for their dental visit. When you visit the dentist, bring along a comfort item, like a favorite toy or stuffed animal.
We recommend that kids have their first dental visit at the age of 1. The dentist will look at the child’s teeth and may or may not provide a cleaning or other care, depending on the number of teeth.
MCHD Dentistry staff members work hard to ensure that children’s visits are fun and not overwhelming, in order to set them up for a lifetime of taking good care of their teeth, which includes seeing a dentist twice a year.
Call 304-598-5108 to make an appointment. Our friendly staff will make your child’s visit to the dentist as fun and relaxing as possible. But remember, while visiting the dentist is important, the best oral hygiene habits start at home.
Katie Minor is the public information office assistant at Monongalia County Health Department.