April is National Oral Health month, and brings with it the opportunity for Canadians of all ages to think about ways to keep their smiles healthy and bright.
Living in pandemic-times has meant delayed dental care for many families, and delay can have long-term ramifications that we’d all rather avoid, so it becomes more important than ever for families to practice an oral health routine at home.
Ten Tips for Parents
The Ontario Dental Association offers these 10 tips to help parents:
- Before your baby has teeth, wipe the gums gently with a clean wet cloth after each feeding.
- If your baby sleeps with a bottle or sippy cup at naptime or bedtime, fill it with water only.
- If your baby normally falls asleep while feeding, brush his or her teeth before feeding.
- Lift your baby’s lip and watch for changes in colour, lines or spots on your child’s teeth as these may be signs of potential problems.
- For children from birth to 3 years of age, talk to your dentist about whether fluoridated toothpaste is appropriate for your child and how much should be used.
- For children from 3 to 6 years of age, only a small amount (a portion the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used. Children in this age group should be assisted by an adult when brushing their teeth.
- Begin flossing at least once a day when your child’s teeth are touching.
- Change your child’s toothbrush every one to three months or immediately after an illness.
- To prevent spreading germs that cause tooth decay, do not put anything in your child’s mouth if it has been in your mouth. Don’t share spoons, cups, food, toothbrushes, etc.
- Visit your dentist by the age of one year, or when the first teeth appear. Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups to make sure there are no problems.
Tips for Preparing for Your Child’s Dental Appointment
Stanford Children’s health has a great tip sheet to help parents prepare their children for the dentist, and how to come prepared themselves – take a look HERE and enjoy this video created by the Ontario Dental Association to help you get the dental care you need during a pandemic:
Fun Activities to Do with Children
Also, here are some fun activities you can do with your children, to promote the importance of oral health to children in a fun way. Parents and teachers are welcome to download and use this material, brought to us all by the Canadian Dental Association:
- EggSperiment Activity
- Games & Activities
- Jokes & Trivia
- Resources on Early Childhood Tooth Decay
- Smile Certificate
- Oral Health Activities & Resources
Good luck keeping those growing smiles healthy and bright!