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National Children’s Dental Health Month & Give Kids a Smile

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and every year Brosy Family Dentistry celebrates by participating in the Give Kids a Smile program. The Give Kids a Smile program was launched by the American Dental Association in 2003 as a way to reach underserved children who may not have dental care otherwise. Every year on the first Friday in February, thousands of dental care providers and other volunteers join forces in communities around the country to provide free oral health education, screenings, and treatment to children in need. Since 2003, more than 6 MILLION children have been cared for by more than half a million volunteers through Give Kids a Smile!

Our local Give Kids a Smile event was held on Friday February 7th at Champagne Family Dentistry. Dr. Erin spent the day with dozens of other dental professionals and volunteers from our amazing community. More than 130 local children received free dental care!

Dental health is a vital component of overall health and proper dental care is important for people of ALL ages! Here are a few quick facts about children’s dental health:

1. First dental check-ups should begin by a child’s first birthday. Kids who start receiving professional dental care at the age of one have significantly lower childhood cavity rates.

2. Brushing should begin with the first tooth!

3. Flossing should being as soon as teeth are touching or when first baby molars have come in. Even if teeth aren’t touching completely, it’s great to start healthy habits early.

4. Having fluoride varnish treatments at least twice a year beginning at the age of one can decrease decay rates by 50%.

5. Non-fluoride toothpaste (aka training toothpaste) should be used until a child can completely spit and rinse after brushing.

6. Children who have constant/frequent access (through bottles, sippy cups, etc.) to anything other than water have higher decay rates.

7. Juice, even when watered down, has very little nutritional benefit and children who regularly consume it have higher decay rates.

8. Kids whose parents have healthy oral hygiene habits and regular professional dental care have lower decay rates.

9. The bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease is transmissible and can be spread to children through sharing drinks and utensils.

10. Dental sealants placed on permenant molars decrease decay on chewing surfaces by 90%.

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Brushing Your Kid’s Teeth

Courtney, one of our great dental assistants and Reno mom of two boys, shared wonderful insight into brushing her own kid’s teeth.

 Establishing healthy habits for my children has always been extremely important.  So when it came to oral health I wasted no time teaching my boys how to brush their teeth and how to floss. Not all children find brushing and flossing their teeth fun or exciting, so you have to become creative. When we first introduced brushing their teeth, goofy songs and funny faces were a must. Warning… you will make a complete fool of yourself but it is all worth it. My husband and I started with this when the boys were one. We would do all the brushing and flossing.            

 Starting young is very important if you want this habit to stick and be fun for the child. Soon the funny faces and songs became boring to my boys so I had to think of something else. Different character tooth brushes. Each child had their own ninja turtle, super heroes, minions, star wars and Mickey Mouse toothbrushes.  So every morning and night we would let their imagination take over and they would pick out the character they wanted to be that day or dream about that night. That worked for a while so to make things exciting we would encourage our kids to try it out for themselves. We would first brush and floss their teeth but then we would hand it over to them. They were thrilled!

My boys are now almost 3 and 4 ½ and we still have fun with brushing and flossing. Just this morning I was in the kitchen asking my kids if they have stinky breath. They both ran over and like little dragons they blew their stinky breath in my face. So we decided to brush their teeth in the kitchen. Both boys sat on the counter tops seeing how far they could spit the toothpaste in the sink. Never a dull moment in my house. I believe that since I have started this habit early with my kids they are not scared to go to the dentist but they actually enjoy having the sugar bugs cleaned off by the doctor and have pictures taken of their teeth.

  Starting good oral habits early is extremely important. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us. We love seeing children of all ages and look forward to being your family’s dentist. 

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