February is Children’s Oral Health Month

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Protect your child’s smile and overall health by starting good dental habits early! A strong oral hygiene routine is the best line of defense against many common dental issues like plaque, gum disease, and cavities.


Chairperson of Dentistry, Dr. Eleanor Olsen

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island Chairperson of Dentistry, Dr. Eleanor Olsen recommends regular dental checkups, typically every six months. This is not only good for the mouth; it will also help your child build a comfort level with the dentist. Routine checkups help to prevent small problems from becoming larger health challenges down the road.

“Show your kids that practicing good oral health is important and can be fun,” says Dr. Olsen. “Lead by example and practice good oral health yourself”.



To keep your child’s teeth healthy and their smile bright follow Dr. Olsen’s tips for healthy teeth.

  • Start early. For babies, clean gums with a soft damp cloth or baby toothbrush to remove plaque from the mouth.
  • Remind your child to brush at least twice a day. Always ask your children if they have brushed their teeth before leaving for school and when they are getting ready for bed. Encourage your child to brush after every meal by packing a travel toothbrush in their backpack that they can use at school after lunch and snack time.
  • Brush for two minutes. Your child should spend two minutes brushing each time he or she brushes. Before bedtime, your child should brush for two minutes, rinse with water, and then rinse with fluoride.
  • Give your child NYC tap water instead of bottled water. NYC tap water has fluoride which will help prevent cavities. As New Yorkers, we are fortunate to have great tasting, healthy, clean water. Encourage your child to drink a lot of water. It will wash a lot of the plaque off their teeth. Water has no calories and your child can have as much as they want.
  • Do not put your child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. When an infant is put to bed with a bottle, the last mouthful of liquid often remains in their mouths when they fall asleep. This can lead to tooth decay.
  • Choose healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables.  Avoid candy, cookies, chips and chewy, sticky sweets.
  • Do not allow your child to drink soda or sports drinks. Sodas and sports drinks contain a lot of sugar and have a low ph which can cause acid erosion in teeth. Encourage kids to drink water when they are thirsty.
  • Teach your child about flossing at an early age. Even if your child’s flossing technique is not perfect, encourage them to continue. They will get better with time.

To make an appointment with NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island Dental Services call 1 844 UR CONEY.

This post was provided by NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island. If you would like to reach our readers, please contact us.

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