February is national Child Dental Health Month, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) estimates that 50 percent of school-age children in the United States today have never had a cavity. Here’s what the AAPD suggests to keep your kids cavity-free:

  1. Home Care– Until your child is 10 years old, supervise brushing after breakfast and before bed, with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Encourage your child to floss daily, and to limit snacks.
  2. Fluoride– Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and can even cure early-stage cavities. Talk with your dentist about fluoride supplements, treatments and mouth rinses.
  3. Sealants– Kids with sealants on their back teeth have 50 percent less tooth decay after 15 years than children without sealants. Sealants also cost less than half the price of a filling.
  4. Sports Protection– Mouth guards are recommended to protect your child’s teeth during any sport with a risk of falls or head injuries. The guards prevent about 200,000 injuries each year.
  5. Regular checkups– Your dentist can remove plaque, monitor changes in your child’s oral health and suggest corrective or preventive measures.

For more information on caring for children’s teeth, including how to find a pediatric dentist, visit the AAPD online at www.aapd.org/pediatricinformation

– Christina Elston