February is Children’s Dental Health Month

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Give Kids a Smile

Truth be told, some kids won’t crack a grin because they’re embarrassed about their teeth. Why? Many parents may not be able to afford to take their children to the Dentist, where they learn proper care of their dental hygiene. Thankfully, it’s National Give Kids a Smile Month this February, and we’re ‘flossin’ about it with information on how to give kiddos a big smile. Read this blog for the history of ADA, what happens during the visit, and tips on getting anxious kiddo that bright smile. 

Brush up on the American Dental Association (ADA) who started it all:

Thankfully, the American Dental Association (ADA) reminds us that February 7th is National Give Kids A Smile Day each year. Events are launched across the country to target children who cannot receive appropriate dental care, no matter what the reason. These magnificent events have served more than 5.5 million under served children who have received free oral health services by approximately 7,000 volunteer dentists and 30,000 dental team members. Learn more about the History of Giving Kids A Smile.

Why is it important to go?

Regular dental appointments are essential to keep teeth and gums happy and healthy. Every six months, you should be visiting your Dentist to avoid mouth issues like gingivitis and cavities.

What happens during the visit?

Expect two parts to occur during your visit – the cleaning and examination. First kiss plaque and tartar build-up good-bye as the teeth receive polish and shine. After the patient is clean, the Dentist proceeds to check all areas (including those in question) in the mouth. An x-ray may occur to get a closer look. A quick lesson on proper care of the mouth and gums, and the patient is out the door! Easy-peasy! Also, did we mention the new toothbrush and paste? Honestly, my favorite part! So fresh, so clean.

Anxious kiddo? Here are a few tips to help!

Do you have a child that is kicking and screaming, hiding, and colliding their way out of visiting the Dentist’s chair today? Don’t fret! Here are five tips to help you out.

  1. Start them young. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests taking your child to the Dentist as soon as their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Taking them early will not only be good for their dental health, but it will familiarize them with the new atmosphere for many visits to come.
  2. Read dental themed storybooks. Check out these themed books to toss unnecessary fear out. Your child will be so excited to see the illustrations, hear (or read) the words to get a better idea of what Dr. Toothbrush is all about!
  3. Communication is key. Give your child some time before their dentist appointment to prepare mentally. Talk about the details of the meeting and answer any questions that they may have. Avoid any negative words like “hurt” or “shot.” The staff will know words to use to explain any upcoming dental procedures. It’s essential for parents to positively prepare their child before the Dentist for a smooth visit.
  4. Dress up time. Use a kitchen chair to mock a dentists’ chair and a towel to cover the child like a hygienist’s drape. Perhaps tie some yarn to a plastic spoon to imitate the cleaning tools. Get a bowl for the ‘rinse and spit’. Your child will feel confident after playing pretend Dentists. Let your imagination soar!
  5. One proud Dentist. It’s essential to teach your child the importance of oral care — set expectations for what healthy and happy teeth look like. You may even consider having your child practice brushing their teeth to make the Dentist proud. A beautiful smile will be rewarded with praise and maybe even a sticker!

If your child still is not reacting to the tips above, you may want to consider alternatives like sedation or therapy. Each party will need to prepare for the appointment, inform the Dentist about the specific concerns for smooth sailing.

Helpful links to prepare you for your visit: