Children learn tips for healthy smiles
By Ashley Akers and Capt. Genifer Schrimsher, 23d Aerospace Medicine Squadron
/ Published February 01, 2018
MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Although Moody’s Preventative Dentistry Team stresses the importance of proper dental care in children throughout the year, it is a subject that they shine an extra spotlight on during National Children’s Dental Health Month.
To do this, Airmen from Moody’s Dental Clinic visited the Child Development Center and Youth Center to teach children about proper oral care, Feb. 1, here. This year’s slogan for National Children’s Dental Health Month is “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile!”
According to Moody’s Preventative Dentistry Team, these two simple guidelines are the bulk of what is important to keep teeth healthy, however, they have suggested a few more tips and tricks to ensure your child’s next dental visit is a success.
Children should always brush their teeth two times a day for two minutes each time. Although the age varies for when a child should brush their teeth independently, a good rule of thumb is for the parent to brush the child’s teeth for them at least until they can tie their shoes on their own.
As part of brushing every day, children should clean between their teeth daily. If two teeth are touching, flossing will keep the gums and teeth healthy.
Although these proper care techniques are important, careful food and drink consumption can play a vital role in maintaining good oral health.
Sugary foods and drinks should be consumed with meals, as saliva production increases during meals which helps neutralize acids and rinse food particles from the teeth. Chewing sugarless gum after these meals can also increase saliva flow, helping to wash out food and decay-producing acids. Parents should look for options that list xylitol, which is preferred over the sugar substitute sorbitol, as the first ingredient.
In addition, snacks between meals should be limited and if kids crave a snack, parents should offer nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables. Throughout the day, parents should also monitor beverage consumption. Instead of soft drinks, juices or sports drinks all day, children should choose primarily water.
These proper consumption habits for good oral health can even be started as young as an infant. Infants should always finish their naptime or bedtime bottle before being placed in bed and babies should be encouraged to drink from a cup by their first birthdays.
This is also around the time that children should start being seen by the dentist. The American Dental Association says that it is beneficial for the first dental visit to occur within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, and no later than the child’s first birthday.
From there, parents should schedule regular dental visits for their children in order to prevent oral health issues before intervention is required.
Above all, Moody’s preventative dentistry team says parents should help their children develop good oral health habits by being a good role model and for more information or for questions, parents should contact their local dentist.