February is National Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month
Now that most of us are just over a month into keeping (or giving up on) our new year’s resolutions, here’s an important tidbit of information for you: February is dental health month!
As a dental awareness month, February is a great time to re-evaluate your oral self-care and hygiene habits. If you’ve been slacking on that commitment to floss more often, now is a great reminder to get back into the swing of things. Commit to floss your teeth every day for the rest of the month of February Dental Health Month. When you do, you’ll have a great head start on cutting back on your chances of getting gum disease or tooth decay.
What To Do For National Children’s Dental Health Month
Dental awareness month isn’t just for adults – it’s for kids too! And since children’s smiles play a crucial role in what adult smiles will one day look like, dental health awareness month is especially important for the youngest of patients! If your child hasn’t said anything already, ask them if they’re working on any dental projects at school. Now is the time when groups usually come to classrooms with characters dressed up like the tooth fairy or for show-and-tell about brushing and flossing!
To spark up conversation with your kids, here are a couple of free activity sheets that you can download. While you’re working on them together, talk about what each word means. Or compare the maze to all of those little nooks and crannies inside of your mouth that can be hard to reach!
- Dental Crossword Puzzle
- Dental Coloring Sheet
- Maze Activity Sheet
- And a Calendar, for forming healthy habits (or working to break bad ones.)
(Hint: use calendars to work on goals like giving up thumb sucking or pacifier use. If your child makes it an entire month, have a special prize picked out ahead of time that they get to work towards.)
Dental health awareness month is about keeping prevention-based strategies on your mind, so that you and your family can cut down on preventable dental diseases. Yes – tooth decay and gingivitis are preventable! And when your kids learn all about prevention during National Children’s Dental Health Month, you’re giving them the tools that they need to keep their teeth healthy for the rest of their life.
Children’s Dentistry is Important
Primary (baby) teeth aren’t as strong as permanent (adult) teeth are. When they’re exposed to too much plaque because of infrequent flossing and inadequate brushing, they can get cavities more quickly than you would with adult teeth. And once decay eats through the enamel, it can quickly spread into adjacent healthy teeth. Or worse, the adult tooth that’s still developing underneath!
One of the great tools that can be used alongside brushing and flossing is dental sealants. Our Princeton family dentist recommends sealants on all permanent molars once the chewing surfaces are fully erupt. The protective coating helps cover the deep grooves and pits that collect food particles and have a higher rate of decay. Since the smoother surface is easier to clean with a toothbrush, sealed molars are less likely to get chewing-surface cavities than molars without protective sealants.
Just remember – sealants don’t protect between teeth. You’ll still need to floss each day.
Sometimes It’s About Drinking More Water
Did you know that drinking fluoridated water is just as important as getting vitamins and minerals like calcium from the foods that we eat? When you sip on fluoridated water, your teeth are constantly cleansed throughout the day. The water rushing over them helps lower acid levels and plaque bacteria inside of your mouth. Although it’s no substitute for brushing your teeth, your fluoridated water intake is crucial to preventing tooth decay.
But are all waters created equal? Not exactly. It turns out that some Princeton families might be drinking water that’s actually not good for their teeth. You see, bottled water that you buy in the store may not have regulated levels of this natural mineral inside of it. Some even have a slightly acidic pH level. To get the ADA recommended amount of fluoride, you want to opt for municipal H2O that comes straight from your tap.
So, pick up a Hydroflask or your favorite refillable water bottle and top it off at the sink. It’s better for your smile and it will save you a few dollars per month!
Start Chewing a Different Kind of Gum
Did you know that chewing certain types of gum can help to naturally lower how much plaque bacteria there are on your teeth? It’s true!
As part of Dental Awareness Month, our Princeton family dentist recommends chewing gum that’s sweetened with Xylitol. Now, not just any sugar-free gum has this special ingredient. If it does, you’ll usually see it on the very front of the package.
What’s so nifty about Xylitol? We’re going to get scientific here for a second. It has five carbon sugar molecules. Plaque doesn’t like that. The five carbons physically prevent sugar and bacterial plaque from being able to stick to one another and build up on your teeth. Bottom line, Xylitol fights off germs. So, chewing a piece once or twice a day is great for those mid-morning or afternoon breaks when you might not otherwise go brush your teeth.
Start Before it’s Too Late
At Canal Vista Family Dental, our mission for February Dental Awareness Month is to help Princeton families keep their smiles healthier, longer. That way you can cut back on emergency trips to the dentist or expensive treatments that pop up out of nowhere.
If it’s been ages since your last checkup, Dr. Bestandji can screen your teeth and gums for early signs of dental disease. That way earlier treatment can be less invasive, more proactive, and gentler on your wallet! And if you have dental insurance, there’s still time to schedule a second six-month visit before the year is over.
For quality family dentistry in Princeton, call us today!