While you’re celebrating the month of love, your dentist in Westchester would like to make you aware of another thing to celebrate in February — the American Dental Association have designated it National Children’s Dental Health Month! Your child’s oral health is as important as your own, and they have special needs when it comes to keeping cavities at bay. In 2017, National Children’s Dental Health Month aims to raise awareness about one big defense parents have against decay and infection in their kids’ smiles: tap water.
On the Importance of Drinking Tap Water
The slogan for this year’s National Dental Health Month is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.” Kids love fruit juice, sports drinks, and other sugary beverages, but the added sweeteners in these beverages greatly increase their risk of cavities. For a healthier smile and better overall nutrition, encourage your child to regularly hydrate with tap water.
Aside from being free of sugar, tap water has one key ingredient for smile health: fluoride. The mineral helps to remineralize the tooth enamel after sugars and bacteria weaken, or demineralize, it. Remineralization is an important part of healthy smiles, and extra fluoride can encourage the process to greatly reduce the risk of cavities and infection.
Of course, some parents prefer their families drink filtered or bottled water. If that’s the case, make sure your child is receiving some fluoride through a toothpaste and/or mouthwash that contains the mineral (one that’s been approved by the American Dental Association definitely will).
Good Nutrition Is Crucial, Too
We also encourage you to think about the ways in which your child’s nutrition affects their smile. Feeding them a balanced, nutritious diet and reducing their sugar intake will improve their overall and oral health throughout childhood and on into their teenage years.
Encourage your child to make good dietary choices by…
- Talking about the importance for healthy eating and healthy living
- Limiting candy/snack consumption to the kitchen (reduces overeating)
- Not adding extra sugar to foods and beverages
- Opting for whole fruit instead of fruit juices
- Setting a good example through your own dietary choices
- Sending them to school with a filled reusable water bottle as a reminder to hydrate with water throughout the day
Don’t Forget the Need for Preventive Dental Care
In addition to encouraging your child to eat and drink for their smile health, remember that patients of all ages benefit from a dental checkup and cleaning every six months. During a routine examination, we’ll check to make sure their smile is as healthy as can be, and provide any pointers that will help you prevent tooth decay and infection during childhood. Dental sealants also provide significant protection against these common oral health conditions.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
With the last point in mind, when was your child’s last visit to the dentist? Maybe they’re starting to brush on their own, but calling to schedule an appointment is one thing your little one can’t do for themselves just yet. If it’s been longer than six months, it’s time to request an appointment with the family dentist in Westchester County!