February is Children's Dental Health Month

Brush up on healthy habits during National Children's Dental Health Month.

By Ann Sullivan-Cross

Web Editor at LeapFrog

Ann Sullivan-Cross is LeapFrog's Web Editor, and when she's not chasing after her three kids, she's out running in the woods.

February is National Children's Dental Health Month! Each year the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. This is the perfect opportunity to fine tune your efforts to ensure your child maintains proper oral hygiene.

Brush up on oral health with these tips

  • The ADA recommends kids brush for two minutes, two times a day; an hourglass timer is helpful and fun to use.
  • Maintain a regular routine; brush at the same time each day, e.g., before school and before bedtime.
  • Don’t forget to floss! Kid-friendly tools like Kids' Flossers work well.
  • Visit the dentist every six months for regular cleanings and check-ups; there are many books that will help ease any anxiety around seeing the dentist, such as Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain and Have You Ever Seen a Moose Brushing His Teeth? by Jamie McClaine and April Goodman Willy.
  • Give your child healthy snacks instead of sugar-laden sweets when possible and be mindful to ensure your kids brush well on days sweets are enjoyed.
  • Make brushing fun! Add music or purchase a musical toothbrush for your child and encourage them to pick out their toothbrush and flavored toothpaste.

Tips to help brushing-averse children

  • Explore toothpaste options until your child finds one he or she likes; you could try a liquid toothpaste like Brushing Rinse Toothpaste as a temporary solution (be sure to discuss this with your child’s dentist.)
  • Some children find electric tooth brushes help combat sensory defensiveness.
  • There are ways to desensitize gums like giving your child crunchy foods or small pieces of ice to chew prior to brushing.
  • Sometimes using warm water rather than cold helps, or have your child dip their toothbrush in hot water prior to brushing.