February is


Childrens Dental Health Month

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1 – Establish and Maintain a Proper Oral Health Routine 

Food left on your child’s teeth encourages bacteria growth that eats away at enamel and causes cavities. This is why it’s important to have a steady, consistent oral health routine. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends children brush twice per day, for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day to clean debris from the hard-to-reach areas of their teeth. A proper oral health routine is the best way to keep a mouth clean, and prevents a lot of oral health problems.                                                             

2 – Drink More Water – Seriously             

Water is a fantastic tool in the fight against bad bacteria and tooth decay. Water does not harm teeth at all. In fact, it improves saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth. Try giving your child more water instead of sugary drinks to help keep their teeth strong and healthy.  If they must have juice or a sweeter drink, water it down so that they aren’t consuming too much sugar at one time.

3 – Eat a Mouth-Healthy Diet

 A healthy diet is critical to getting a healthy mouth. Mouth-healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts and calcium-rich items can all strengthen teeth. When buying fruit and vegetables, make sure that you purchase them in their full-forms, and that you don’t buy fruit packaged in sugary syrup. Try adding vegetables like celery, spinach or carrots to your child’s diet, since these food naturally scrub teeth clean of food debris.

4 – Replace Worn Out Toothbrushes             

 It can be difficult to know when to replace your child’s old toothbrush with a new one. But, there are some signs that indicate it’s time for a change. If your child’s toothbrush bristles are frayed, or turning outward, then it’s time for a new toothbrush. If your child recently had an illness, then it’s best to replace their toothbrush to prevent the spread of germs. Finally, a good rule of thumb to follow is to replace your child’s toothbrush after 3 months of use.

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Reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. And students who are absent miss critical instruction time—especially in early grades where reading skills are an important focus and the building blocks of future learning. And students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.

That's why NEA's Read Across America and its sponsor, Renaissance Dental, are celebrating National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of good oral health. Parents and children are encouraged to brush their teeth for two minutes, two times per day, and read for 20 minutes as a way of building good oral health and literacy habits.

To further help educators and parents promote good oral health and literacy skills, check out these resources.



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