National Children’s Dental Health Month: How To Promote Good Dental Habits In Your Home

ROGERS (KFSM) -- The American Dental Association's National Children's Dental Health Month is dedicated to teaching kids the importance of taking care of their teeth.

About one in five of Americans said their child had at least one cavity last year. Arkansas is ranked one of the top five states with the worst dental health.

Dr. Jeff Rhodes at Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry said he suggests helping your kids get a jump start on healthy teeth and gums by looking into their oral health before they are one year old.

"A lot of problems start right after infancy when the teeth erupt," said Rhodes. "They are exposed to a lot and cavities can start as young as age 1."

Home-care Recommendations:

  • Use washcloth with Xylitol (non-fluoride) toothpaste
  • Use toothbrush with:
    • Smear of fluoride toothpaste crushed into bristles
    • Pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss each night
  • Rinse with mouthwash
  • Parents to observe brushing until age 12

Diet Recommendations:

  • Wait at least two hours between snacks and meals
  • Drink water at non-meal times
  • Avoid sports drinks and sugary beverages
    • Gatorade, Powerade, energy drinks, fruit juices, etc.
  • Fruits and Vegetables (crunchy is better)
  • Limit carbohydrates like crackers and bread
  • Cheeses (American, Swiss, and Cheddar)
  • Dark Chocolate (70%)
  • Xylitol Chewing gum after meals (parents too)