“Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles!” This is 2024’s campaign slogan for National Children’s Dental Health Month. There is no better time to schedule your child’s dental cleaning in Piedmont CA while making sure they’re keeping up with positive oral health habits every day.

Check out these oral health tips and considerations that you and your kids should be brushing up on this month.

When Should Your Child Have Their First Visit?

While it’s certainly never too early to focus on your child’s oral health, the American Association of Pediatric Dentists says parents should make their child’s initial appointment to the dentist by their first tooth or first birthday. Parents can take this time to ask questions and address dental concerns. At this first visit, the dentist will swab your child’s mouth gently, checking the health of their gums and any teeth that may have erupted. At every visit going forward, the dentist will continue to monitor their progress, especially when they are teething, putting preventative measures in place to protect your baby’s teeth.

How Can You Prevent Tooth Decay?

Sadly, early childhood tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, affecting even more kids than asthma. According to the ADA, more than 40 percent of children have tooth decay by the time they hit kindergarten, and those with poor oral health are 3x more likely to miss days off from school because of dental pain.

Tooth decay involves the slow destruction of tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard, outer layer of your teeth. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, will eventually form and stay on the teeth when regular care is not provided. This film keeps acids against your teeth that can break down enamel, leading to cavities, says the ADA.

Check out these tips for preventing tooth decay:

  • Eat nutritious and well-balanced meals while limiting snacking.
  • Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use floss or interdental cleaner every day.
  • Ask your child’s dentist about using supplemental fluoride. This is a topical application designed to strengthen the teeth. Your child may also benefit from dental sealants applied to the chewing surface (usually just the back teeth) to prevent decay. The back teeth are the most at risk for forming decay.
  • Visit your child’s dentist regularly for cleanings and oral exams.

What Should Pregnant Moms Do?

Being pregnant is not an excuse to neglect oral health. That’s because pregnancy puts you at a higher risk of gum disease and cavities, which can then affect your baby’s health. Before you deliver, go see the dentist (it’s safe to do so), brush your teeth twice daily, and floss daily.

Got nausea? If you do get sick, simply rinse out your mouth with one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water to wash away stomach acid while protecting your tooth enamel, says the CDC.

How Can You Maintain Your Child’s Oral Health?

Here are some oral health tips you can heed to start your children off on the right foot so they can enjoy healthy smiles their whole lives.

  • Once your kid’s teeth begin to touch, you can start flossing between them.
  • Schedule routine dental check-ups twice yearly.
  • Before their teeth even start coming in, clean your baby’s gums daily. Simply wipe a damp washcloth over them to get off all the harmful bacteria after each feeding.
  • When the first tooth pops through, use an infant toothbrush to gently brush it every day. You only need a rice-sized portion of fluoride toothpaste and some water.
  • Brush for two minutes twice a day. You can time it with your phone or sing a fun jingle. Kids between the ages of two and six should only get a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. If they are under six years old, watch them while they brush so that they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
  • Only give them healthy snacks, while avoiding fruit juice, sticky candies, fruit snacks, and sports drinks. Opt for calcium-rich snacks such as cheese or low-sugar yogurt. For an occasional treat, reach for a chocolate bar rather than gummy or sticky sweets, which can stay inside teeth even after brushing.
  • Make sure your kids keep hydrated. Water is best for rinsing sugar or particles that can result in cavities. Steer clear of the sugary drinks such as soda or even fruit juice. Hopefully, you’re lucky enough to have a municipal water source that contains fluoride, as recommended by the American Dental Association and U.S. Surgeons General.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months, or after illness.
  • If your older child dons braces, make sure they visit the orthodontist and the dentist as recommended.

Book Your Child’s Dental Appointment With Piedmont Oaks Dental

National Children’s Dental Health Month should be taken as an important reminder to schedule a dental cleaning for your kids. To book an appointment for pediatric cleanings in Piedmont, call us at (510) 654-6523. We are located at 1345 Grand Ave. Suite 103 in Piedmont, CA, with convenient hours to fit your family’s busy lifestyle.