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Home News Help protect kids’ smiles during Children’s Dental Health Month
David Barre
(505) 699-9237 Office

Help protect kids’ smiles during Children’s Dental Health Month

February 5, 2024 - Dental and Oral Health - Awareness

SANTA FE — February is Children’s Dental Health Month, and this national observance brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals and healthcare providers to promote the benefits of good oral health. First celebrated in 1949, it became a month-long commemoration in 1981. This year’s theme is “Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles.” 

“Tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease and promoting awareness and prevention can help us all recognize the harmful habits we form that can affect our oral health and change them,” said Amy Sandoval, New Mexico Department of Health, Office of Oral Health Director. “Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life and parents and other caregivers play an important role in teaching kids how to take good care of their teeth.” 

Good oral health starts as soon as children are born. Parents and caregivers should make their kid’s first dentist appointment by their first birthday to help prevent cavities. Untreated cavities cause pain, infections and can lead to problems eating, speaking and learning. More than 1 in 5 children aged 2-5 years old has a least one cavity in their baby teeth. By age 8, over half of children (52%) have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth. 

However, cavities are preventable with some simple steps:  

  • Ensure your kids are keeping up with daily oral care, including brushing their teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day. 
  • Bring your kids to the dentist at least twice a year for an oral examination and cleaning. If you don’t have an appointment scheduled, right now is a great time to get one on your calendar. 
  • Buy new toothbrushes—toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months as frayed bristles decrease their effectiveness. 
  • Limit drinks and food with added sugars and encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables and drink fluoridated water. 
  • For babies, ensure you wipe their gums after each meal and avoid putting babies to bed with a bottle. 
  • Dental sealants are a quick, easy way to prevent most cavities for children 6 to 11 years old by painting a thin coating on the chewing surfaces of their permanent back teeth (molars).  Ask your child’s dentist to apply sealants when appropriate. 

For more information visit the CDC’s Children’s Dental Health webpage

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Ayude a proteger las sonrisas de los niños en el Mes de la Salud Dental Infantil