Wendy C. Fries
Brunilda Nazario, MD
Smile and say cheese! February is Children's Dental Health month, time to make sure tots, tweens, and teens are getting the tooth care they need.
Even tiny tots need regular checkups, just like mom and dad. The American Dental Association recommends kids start getting checkups at about age 1, or when their first tooth appears.
Yet even before then it's important to care for your child's teeth and gums. Though they'll eventually lose them, baby teeth help a child speak and chew well, and also create a path for the permanent teeth that follow. To care for baby and toddler dental health:
Though your preteen and teenager will still receive care from their pediatric dentist, essentially their basic dental health needs are similar to adults. They (and you!) should:
And be sure your kids know that if those pearly whites are to last a lifetime they're not to be used as ice crushers, fork tine straighteners, and potato chip bag openers. Now, smile and say cheese!
SOURCES: American Dental Association: "Teens: Diet and Oral Health," "Baby's First Teeth," "Tooth Eruption: The Primary Teeth." WebMD Feature: "Helpful Hints for Healthy Teeth." WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic: "Dental Health: Nutrition and Your Child's Teeth," Dental Health: Caring for Your Baby's Teeth." American Academy of Family Physicians: "Dental Hygiene: How to Care for Your Child's Teeth." American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: "Dental Care for Your Baby."
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