ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, aimed at promoting the benefits of good oral health to children and their caregivers. Dr. Heidi Ostby at Just Kids Pediatric Dental Center says she likes to take this month as an opportunity to educate the community on the importance of making sure children are getting the care they need early on.
“A lot of parents think that starting young is unsafe, and even the toothpaste will say, consult a dentist if under age two,” says Ostby. “But, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association and all of our organizations recommend starting to brush with fluoride toothpaste as soon as your child gets teeth. Sometimes that’s as early as six months old.”
Ostby says babies will begin to teeth around 6 months of age and will have those teeth until they are about 12 years old.
“If things are not caught early kids can have a mouthful of cavities and it’s common, I see it every single day, Ostby says, “I get new patients, where they’re three or four years old, and they have a mouth full of cavities and in order to fix those cavities, we have to put them under general anesthesia, you don’t want that to happen.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 of 5 children ages 5 to 11 years old have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
“We recommend bringing a child in for their first visit by their first birthday so that we can start giving parents information on how to prevent cavities,” Ostby says.
There is even a raffle for people who get involved this month. Ostby has placed huge stand-up posters around grocery stores in Anchorage. These posters feature her daughter on her first birthday.
If you take a picture with your child next to one of these posters and send it to her practice you could have a chance to win a Philips Sonicare toothbrush.
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