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Dos and don'ts of children's dental health

Posted at 6:14 AM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 06:22:05-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and dentists want to make sure they don't see any cavities, or something worse, when kids come in for a check-up.

Starting to form good habits early helps children as they get older.

"We recommend when they first get that first tooth to some see us,” said Dr. Kelsey Duff with Dentistry for Children in Lexington.

If not then, Duff says kids should see a dentist for the first time by age 1.

There are plenty of things to keep in mind as a child is developing, such as avoiding cavities. It’s important to not have too many sweets and juice, but Duff also says to be cautious about milk.

"It does have a lot of sugar in it,” she said. “So, we usually recommend milk at meal times. That way they're just not sipping on it all day or all evening or all night."

Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, it doesn't mean they should be cared about less.

"If you're losing a tooth because it has a huge cavity on it when you're 2 when you're not supposed to lose it until you're 10, you lose that space,” said Duff. “So, in the future when you're older and you're getting those permanent teeth in, you don't have room for those permanent teeth to come in."

While some may want their kids to be independent, parents should brush their kid's teeth until they're ready to do it themselves properly.

"We gauge that by saying if they can tie their shoes or write their name really well, then their hand can do the motion of the toothbrush and the floss and get all of the plaque of their teeth,” said Andrea Osborn, a registered dental hygienist with Dentistry for Children.

At such a young age, going to the dentist and brushing may seem a little scary. That's where parents and guardians can use positive reinforcement, like a sticker chart or promising a fun activity.