Brush up on your child’s dental health

Life Lessons

Brush up on your child’s dental health

How important is your child’s smile? February was National Children’s Dental Health Month, an awareness month dedicated to educating parents about children’s dental health. So, we decided to test what parents know about their kid’s smile.

In February, Unum surveyed 730 parents to see what they knew about their kid’s dental health and hygiene. Based on the results, most parents believe that a child’s first dental visit should happen around two years old. However, the American Association of Pediatric Dentists says it should be much sooner than that, recommending the first dental visit after the first tooth comes in or by age one.

In the same survey, 36 percent of parents are also under the impression that kids can go a year or longer between visits, but bi-annual checkups are strongly recommended by dental professionals. This allows dentists to check for oral problems that could impact your child’s health, including cavities and other health conditions that may delay development. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Another children’s dental misconception is the amount of toothpaste to use. According to recent research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), parents and kids are uses too much toothpaste when brushing. Although the fluoride in toothpaste does work to prevent cavities, too much fluoride can be harmful for young children. It can even discolor their teeth.

For children younger than 3 years old, dentists recommend only using toothpaste the size of a rice grain. Children 3 to 6 years old can upgrade to a pea-sized portion of toothpaste. This is enough fluoride to get the job done and protect their teeth, but it’s not an excessive amount if ingested.

Make sure you brush up on your children’s dental health, and provide your little ones with the proper dental care year-round. And remember that Unum’s Dental Provider Locator makes it easy to find an in-network dentist to check out your baby’s teeth.