Use Children’s Dental Health Month as an opportunity to teach kids about tooth-healthy habits 

February is Children’s Dental Health Month, making it the perfect time to educate younger audiences on the best ways to keep their teeth healthy. Maintaining good oral health prevents future dental issues and keeps teeth perfect for picture day.

Tooth decay, also called a cavity, is the No. 1 chronic disease among children in the United States. In fact, more than half of Arizona’s kindergarten children have had cavities, a level higher than the national average for 5-year-olds, according to a report from First Things First. Here’s the good news: cavities are nearly 100% preventable by maintaining good oral hygiene. Children should be encouraged to brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two to three minutes and floss once a day.

It’s also important to schedule children for a dental exam and cleaning every six months. These checkups should start by age 1 or once their first tooth erupts. Building a positive relationship with the dentist at an early age can set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health. Plus, dentists can teach kids the best methods of brushing and deep clean their teeth to remove any built-up plaque that you cannot reach at home with regular brushing.

The health of your mouth and body are connected, so teaching children healthy eating habits can also improve oral health. Talk to them about how lean meats like chicken, turkey and white fish are good sources of protein, which can help strengthen tooth enamel, or how melons, celery and cucumbers have higher water content, which helps keep teeth clean. Discuss how juice and soda have sugar and why water might be a better choice.

If you’re looking for some fun activities that help promote this message, Delta Dental of Arizona is partnering with the Children’s Museum of Phoenix all month long on a series of outdoor, interactive oral health events.

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