Niagara County Department of Health Provides Informational Resources to Highlight National Children's Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Cavities, also known as caries or tooth decay, are the most common chronic disease of childhood, yet cavities are preventable. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.

“Untreated cavities can cause pain, infections, and can lead to problems eating, speaking, and learning,” said Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton.  Niagara County Department of Health offers the following strategies to protect and maintain your child’s teeth:

Babies: You can’t see your infant’s teeth, but they’re there, hiding just beneath the gums.  Take care of them from the start with these strategies:

  • Wipe gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed to wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities.
  • When teeth come in, start brushing twice a day with a soft, small‑bristled toothbrush and plain water.
  • Visit the dentist by your baby’s first birthday to spot signs of problems early.
  • Talk to your dentist or doctor about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
  • For children younger than 2, consult first with your doctor or dentist regarding the use of fluoride toothpaste.

Children: Cavities are still one of the most common chronic diseases for kids from age 6 to 19. Protect your child’s teeth by having them:

  • Brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Ask your child’s dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate.
  • Drink tap water that contains fluoride. (Note: all municipal water in Niagara County is fluoridated).
  • If your child is younger than 6, watch them brush. Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow. Help your child brush their teeth until they have good brushing skills.

Pregnant Women: When you’re pregnant, you may be more prone to gum disease and cavities, which can affect your baby’s health. Follow these steps to protect your teeth:

  • See your dentist before you deliver.
  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily.
  • If you have nausea, rinse your mouth with 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water after you get sick. This helps wash stomach acid away and keep your tooth enamel safe.

“Oral health is important for the whole family and it’s never too early, or too late to practice healthy behaviors for a healthy smile,” concluded Stapleton.   People of all ages will benefit from brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, daily flossing, limiting sugary beverages and snacks, use of a mouth rinse with fluoride, and regular dental check-ups.

For more information:

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