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national children's dental health month albany oregonIn celebrating February as National Children’s Dental Health Month, we’ve listed a few tips below to help your child have a healthier smile.
Let’s start with the basics:

Brushing teeth from Day One

Even before your little one has any teeth, the gums should be wiped with clean gauze after each feeding to get rid of bacteria. Once the first tooth has emerged, begin brushing your child’s teeth and gums with a soft bristled toothbrush and a little water. Toddlers, and even infants who are teething, may enjoy the soothing vibrations of an electric toothbrush. Select one with a smaller head made for young children. Many even include timers so the brush turns off automatically when brushing time is over.
“Well Baby” Dental Exams
If your child has not had a dental examination, call us to schedule a “well-baby checkup”.  Just like your pediatrician checks for signs of healthy development, early childhood dental visits will allow our team to monitor your baby’s teeth for signs of decay. We will also check for any potential problems with emerging teeth.
The Diet-Dental Health Connection
We all know that good nutrition is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums throughout life. For strong, decay-resistant teeth, children need protein, vitamins and minerals.  When children do not have a balanced diet, their teeth may not develop properly. 
Get in the habit of checking food labels for sugar content; and stay away from sugary cough drops, hard candy, and even breath mints which tend to stay in the mouth for a long time. 
Be a Good Sport about Mouthguards
If you child plays sports (even non-contact ones), a mouthguard is an important part of his or her protective gear.  Mouthguards cover the upper teeth and help to prevent injuries to the teeth, lips, cheeks, tongue and jaw. While there are different types of guards available, you should talk to us about which one will provide the most protection for your child’s circumstance.  Remember, dental injuries can be permanent, painful and costly; don’t take a risk with your child’s smile. We also recommend adults to wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
Remember to:
Avoid giving your child sweetened liquids.
Do not give your child a bottle when putting him down for a nap or for the night.
Brush your child’s teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
Start regular dental visits by age one.
Ask us for advice on sealants – a great way to protect molars from future decay.
Only use a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste for kids under 7. That way, they will have less chance to swallowing it, instead of using it.
Most importantly… Set a good example for your child! Brush and floss with them.
Have a safe and wonderful month!! 
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