February is Children’s Dental Health month, and this year’s theme by the American Dental Association (ADA) is “Brush, Floss, Smile.” This year, they offer the following dental health tips to help support your child’s developing oral health for healthy teeth and gums:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss between your teeth every day.
- Eat healthy foods and limit sugary drinks.
- See your dentist (at least) twice a year.
Our dental team can’t stress enough how important it is for children to develop good habits at an early age. We also encourage scheduling routine dental visits to help your child get the best possible start on a lifetime of healthy teeth, gums and smiles!
February 9th is also Toothache Day, where we spotlight what you need to know about toothaches and why dental hygiene care is such a vital part of your child’s growing smile. Toothaches are basically the pain from one (or more) teeth in distress. Your child’s aching tooth can make eating, sleeping and even talking unbearable. And while dental pain is hard for anyone at any age, for children, it can feel even more distressing and traumatic.
What Causes Toothaches in Children?
- Tooth decay: This can lead to tooth pain that often feels dull. You might notice discoloration on a molar that looks yellowish-brown on the dental enamel. These arise when your child consumes too much sugar and starch in their diet, made worse when combined with poor oral hygiene habits.
- Dental abscess: These come from bacterial infections with pus inside the tooth’s root. You may also see a pimply growth right under the gum line. Treating the abscess quickly helps prevent bone loss.
- Cracked tooth enamel: This can happen when your child bites down on something hard like jawbreakers or gumballs, leaving them feeling tooth sensitivity or pain.
- Gum disease: Typically arising from lax oral hygiene care allowing dental plaque to flourish and harden on teeth and around the gum line. Teach your child to brush, floss, and rinse their mouth every day without skipping, and see our dentist for checkups.
- Stuck food: Whether your child likes corn, popcorn, or shredded meats, tiny bits of food sometimes become trapped between their teeth and gums. This is why flossing between their teeth before bedtime is important. As soon as these bits are removed, your child’s toothache should stop.
To prevent toothaches, monitor your child’s oral hygiene habits. They should be brushing for two minutes, applying an ADA-approved toothpaste and using a soft-bristled toothbrush. To ease discomfort from a toothache, have them gargle and swish saltwater in their mouth (half a teaspoon of table salt to 8 ounces of warm water) to soothe the area. You can help them apply an ice pack to the outside of the affected area for 15 minutes at a time. They may also find relief with acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) for their age and weight. If their toothache persists, give us a call to see if we can get them in as soon as possible.
February 28th is Tooth Fairy Day!
If your family likes to recognize the tooth fairy, February is one of two days a year when we acknowledge the tooth fairy’s role in your child’s developing smile. When it comes to tooth loss, children often feel better when they know the tooth is going to a good home (the Tooth Fairy’s), and they can collect a small reward, whether it’s money or a new toothbrush or toothpaste that has the Tooth Fairy on it tucked under their pillow during the night! You might mention that the tooth fairy prefers healthy teeth over damaged ones (although she will take any tooth). Encourage daily oral hygiene so that their eventual lost tooth will be a better prize for this industrious fairy!
Dr. Leo Man and our excellent team in West Covina, California, look forward to helping your child smile all year round. Give us a call at 626-598-3344 if you have questions about your child’s smile or to schedule their next dental visit!