21st MDS educates with National Children’s Dental Health Month

  • Published
  • By Dr. Carissa Maguire and Capt. Renee Smith
  • 21st Medical Squadron, Dental Flight

Parents often wonder why taking care of baby teeth are important since they will quickly fall out. However, habits and attitudes are formed at a young age. Placing an emphasis on your child’s dental health now can be a critical step towards them maintaining a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Also, baby teeth are important space holders for permanent teeth. Losing them prematurely due to cavities can create the need for orthodontic intervention in the future.

The National Children’s Dental Health Month slogan for February 2022, is “Sealants Make Sense.” The American Dental Association states that sealants can reduce the risk of cavities in molars by nearly 80%.  Sealants are protective coverings that can be placed in the pits and grooves of healthy teeth. The sealants can shield the grooves from food debris and germs. The best time to seal molars is when tooth eruption occurs around ages 6 years and 12 years.

A few tips that parents can use to help their children maintain a healthy smile are:

· Gently clean your baby's gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad

· Never allow an infant to nurse continuously from a bottle of milk, formula or juice

· Help your child brush and floss until they are old enough to do an effective job. The ADA recommends that children less than seven years old receive help from an adult

· Schedule regular dental checkups, beginning no later than 6 months after the first baby tooth appears.

· Ask your dentist about placing sealants on your child's permanent molars

· Restrict the amount of candy, soda, and other sugars your child consumes

· If your child plays sports, make sure he or she always wears a mouth guard


For any questions on how to establish good oral hygiene habits for your child, contact the 21st Medical Squadron, Dental Flight at (719) 567-5065.