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Parents Urged to Encourage Healthy Habits for Their Kids During National Children’s Dental Health Month

You know that daily brushing and flossing are important for your overall health, but how soon should you introduce good oral habits to your children?

CARY, N.C. – You know that daily brushing and flossing are important for your overall health, but how soon should you introduce good oral habits to your children? February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and the North Carolina Dental Society is reinforcing the importance of good oral health.

The North Carolina Dental Society provides insight to common questions from parents:

  • When should you schedule your baby’s first dental visit? You might be surprised to learn you should schedule an initial visit to the dentist after the first tooth appears, but no later than your little one’s first birthday. Even baby teeth are susceptible to cavities. 
  • How often should your children brush their teeth? As soon as teeth begin to break through, help your kids brush twice a day. Incorporate brushing into their morning and evening routines, and consider encouraging them to brush along to their favorite tunes.
  • How much toothpaste should your kids use? Use just a smear of children’s toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice for kids under three. After that, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste will do the trick.
  • When should your kids start flossing? When their teeth touch, it’s time to introduce floss into daily routines. Plastic, child-friendly flossing tools can help ease the transition.

“I can’t stress the importance of regular dental checkups enough,” said Dr. Frank Courts, a pediatric dentist in Rocky Mount. “Find a local dentist in your area and ask him or her for suggestions about preventing cavities, proper brushing techniques and even dental sealants for your kids. Sealants are great because they form a protective barrier against bacteria, and can help save you money in the long run by avoiding costly treatments. Also, because sugar is the leading cause of tooth decay in young children, be sure to carefully read FDA labels and limit the amount of high-sugar foods and drinks your kids consume.”

During the kickoff for National Children’s Dental Health Month, Give Kids a Smile events were held across North Carolina to provide free oral health care services to underserved children. Volunteers, including dentists, dental students at UNC and ECU, dental assistants, hygienists and community members, provided dental and prevention treatments, as well as educational programs at no cost. North Carolina has one of the most far-reaching programs of its type in the country, providing more than $13.7 million in free dental care to 185,000 children over the last 15 years.

For more information about caring for your children’s teeth, visit www.mouthhealthy.org or consult a dentist in your area.

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About the North Carolina Dental Society

The North Carolina Dental Society was founded in 1856 and is one of the oldest dental societies in the country. The NCDS represents 3,700 member dentists in North Carolina. Headquartered in Cary, our mission is to help all members succeed. For more information about the NCDS, visit ncdental.org. The North Carolina Dental Society is a part of the American Dental Association, the nation's largest dental association, representing 158,000 dentist members.

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