National Children’s Dental Health Month: Common questions for pediatric dentistry

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rachel Roach
  • 81st Dental Squadron

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Brush up on oral hygiene tips for your children. Dental cavities are the number one childhood disease in the United States. By setting a good example and educating your children about how to take care of their teeth, you can help them avoid dental issues throughout their lives. Below are common questions that dentists from Keesler’s 81st Dental Squadron are asked.

How can I care for my infant's teeth?

  • Proper dental care for your child begins even before their first tooth erupts. Be sure to wipe down your baby’s gums after every feeding, and never allow a child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweet liquids. Try not to share saliva with them as dental cavities are infectious. As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, start brushing with a toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

When should my child first see a dentist?

  • Children should see a dentist when their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. Just like adults, children should visit a dentist every six months.

At what age can children brush their teeth unsupervised?

  • Parents should supervise brushing, morning and night, until their child is 8 years old. Brushing without supervision can lead to incorrect brushing techniques, a habit that will be hard to break. Demonstrate for your child how to brush: angle the toothbrush 45 degrees towards the gum line, so that the bristles can get in between the gum and tooth. Use small, circular scrubbing motions for two full minutes. Spit out any excess toothpaste and do not rinse.

Do I need to floss my child's teeth?

  • Yes, once your child has most of their baby teeth, begin flossing them. Floss for your child until they are able to handle it on their own. As with brushing, watch carefully to make sure they are using proper technique and getting each tooth.

If you have any follow-up questions, please contact your child’s dentist or pediatrician.