Something to Smile About: National Children’s Dental Health Month

Feb 9, 2024 | News

Not today tooth decay! The most common chronic childhood disease is dental decay. The good news is, it’s preventable. According to the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, there are “more than 16 million kids suffering from untreated tooth decay in the U.S.”  Tooth decay can lead to pain, sleep disturbances, difficulty eating, social anxiety, infection, and possible long-term effects like tooth loss. Taking action to prevent dental decay can not only improve your child’s smile, but also impact their overall health and well-being.

According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay can happen at any age. From the moment their first tooth arrives, there are many steps you can take to make sure your child grows up with a healthy smile.

Check on Their Brushing Technique

Preventing tooth decay starts with a thorough oral hygiene routine at home.  Children need instruction and supervision to learn the basics of good oral health. Modeling good oral hygiene behavior, showing enthusiasm, and helping them develop an oral health routine is very important.

Buy New Toothbrushes

Did you know that toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 to 4 months, and each time your child gets sick? Get kids excited about their regular hygiene routine by letting them select toothbrushes with their favorite characters and choose toothpaste that they like. Dental Health month is an excellent time to toss out old toothbrushes and replace with new ones.

Be Sugar Aware

In addition to hygiene, nutrition plays a crucial role in oral health, so it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding sugary and acidic foods. Provide children with healthy snacks and avoid sippy cups filled with juice between meals. Encourage drinking water instead. Encourage the use of regular cups early and often. Do not put your baby to sleep with a bottle filled with juice or milk.

Visit Your Dentist

Another important piece of the oral health puzzle is visiting a dentist regularly. You should schedule your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday. Early detection of problems, preventative services like cleanings, and counseling from a dental provider can have profound impacts on a child’s oral health.  During your child’s visits, ask about preventative treatments like fluoride varnishes and sealants.

Mid-State Health Center’s Dental Director, Dr. Kelly Perry “With proper care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits, their teeth can remain healthy and strong for life.”

For more information about children’s dental health visit: