February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! Every February the American Dental Association spreads awareness for Children’s Dental Health with campaigns, activities and education dedicated to the subject. This year’s National Children’s Dental Health Month is a little different than past years, however, as the ADA has made a change to their longstanding recommendations.
This month, The ADA released a statement changing their recommendation about what age children should be to start using fluoride toothpaste. The organization now recommends that children start using fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first tooth comes in.
For years the ADA had recommended that children under two years old brush their teeth using only water and a toothbrush, but not fluoride toothpaste. The ADA recommended that children move on to a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste at age 3, until they are 6, when they can move to a larger, more normal amount of toothpaste.
Now, however, the ADA suggests giving infants an amount of fluoride toothpaste comparable to a grain of rice, or a “smear.” The recommendation comes after a new review recently published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found significant benefits for using fluoride toothpaste.
“Approximately 25 percent of children have or had cavities before entering kindergarten, so it’s important to provide guidance to caregivers on the appropriate use of fluoride toothpaste to help prevent their children from developing cavities,” said Dr. Edmond L. Truelove, chair of the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs.
The ADA’s new recommendations stress the importance of developing good dental hygiene habits at an early age. Though brushing your infant’s teeth is important, it is also good to remember that the amount of fluoride toothpaste used for an infant should not exceed a smear, as infants are not able to spit the fluoride out appropriately and should not swallow too much.
Announced right in the middle of National Children’s Dental Health Month, these new guidelines could not have come at a more appropriate time. Taking care of a child’s dental health is an important thing for parents to remember, and it is best to start good dental hygiene habits at an early age. In addition to the new recommendation from the ADA, we have compiled a list of a few tips to help maintain your child’s healthy smile, below!
Dental Care Tips for Children
- Start caring for your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth comes in. Per the ADA’s new recommendation, it may be beneficial to start using a smear of fluoride toothpaste as soon as the child’s first tooth appears
- Schedule your child’s first dental appointment before his/her first birthday
- From age three on, continue visiting the dentist every six months – or as recommended by your dentist
- Once your child reaches three years old you can increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to a pea-sized amount, just be sure you remind them to spit it out!
- Limit crackers, cookies and candy. Many parents may not realize this, but crackers are one of the worst foods for your teeth because of the simple sugars. Many children eat crackers as a “healthy” snack. What may be considered as a healthy snack, may actually be causing more cavities than other foods!
Don’t wait any longer to care for your child’s oral health! Start today before National Children’s Dental Health Month is over, and keep the ADA’s new recommendation and our tips in mind!
Do you have questions about creating health habits for your child, or about the ADA’s new recommendation? Don’t hesitate to ask us! Call on the experts at Triad Cosmetic Dentistry and we will help guide you through making healthy dental decisions for your child’s healthcare. Schedule an appointment today or call us with any questions!