Every February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. So far, the campaign reached millions of people in communities across the country, including right here in Jacksonville.

image of a dentist helping a girl

A dentist teaching a girl how to brush properly.

The importance of the campaign’s goal is significant. As the ADA says, “developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.” In our own office, we see the effects of good and bad habits every day. Typically, patients who learned healthy practices at an early age have brighter smiles and lower dental costs as adults. On the other hand, those who never got into the habit of caring for their teeth and gums pay more as they get older.

So, for this month, we’re stressing to patients the many ways they can help their young friends and family practice healthy oral habits. Here are some tips:

–       Play games or sing songs to ensure your child brushes with fluoride toothpaste for a minimum of two minutes twice a day.

–       Introduce flossing to your child as a quick, fun exercise.

–       Give them fluoridated tap water to drink whenever possible.

–       Try to limit the amount of soda, juice, and candy they consume. One helpful way to do this is to serve these cavity-causers only during meals.

–       Make sure your child keeps up with his/her pediatric dentist check-ups.

–       Substitute sugary desserts for healthy fruits.

–       And remember: kids look up to us so we should set a good example!

The ADA’s website has a host of resources, games, and fact sheets you can use to help your children learn healthy oral habits. By taking some time out of your day now to help them learn, you’ll potentially save big bucks down the road in dental costs.

Don’t forget, we’re always willing to help the families of our Jacksonville patients. Contact us for more information about National Children’s Dental Health Month or for more ideas on how to help your kids learn healthy smile practices.