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February is an important month for children’s dental care because it marks the observance of the American Dental Association's “National Children's Dental Health Month”. The first national observance of “Children's Dental Health Day” was held on February 8, 1949. The program was then extended to a month-long celebration in 1981 – known today as “National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM)”. NCDHM raises awareness of how important it is for children to develop good oral habits at an early age to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles.

What to Expect During Childhood

  • Wiggly teeth
    When a child is about 6 years old, his/her teeth will begin to come loose. Let your child wiggle the tooth until it falls out on its own. This will minimize the pain and bleeding associate with a lost tooth
    .
  • Cavities
    Cavities can develop when sugar-containing foods are allowed to stay in the mouth for a long time. Bacteria that live on the teeth feast on these bits of food and can eat away at tooth enamel.

Top Tips for Good Oral Care during Childhood

·         Brushing and flossing
Young children tend to swallow toothpaste when brushing, rather than spitting it out. Introduce fluoride toothpaste when your child is old enough not to swallow it. As soon as two teeth touch each other, floss between them once a day. You can use regular floss or special plastic floss holders.

·         Dental visit
New parents often ask, "When should my child first see a dentist?” Your child should see a dentist by his or her first birthday or when the first tooth erupts.

Take good care of your child's baby teeth. They do eventually fall out but until they do, baby teeth play an important role in helping your child bite and chew food, and speak clearly. Many of the same treatment and evaluation options that adults have are also available to kids. These include X-rays, dental sealants, orthodontic treatment and more.

Bradford-Tioga Head Start is promoting “National Children’s Dental Health Month” with classroom lessons, brushing demonstrations, parent trainings and by including important dental health information in newsletters. In addition, children enrolled in the centers will get a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste to take home. Children enrolled in Early Head Start will receive age-appropriate dental health supplies for use in the home. For more information about children’s oral care visit: www.colgate.com

Photo Caption:   Blossburg 2 student, Blake, and his classmates always brush their teeth as part of the Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. daily routine.