February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and dentists are asking Nevada parents to take a few minutes to supervise their kids’ brushing and flossing, to help them learn the proper techniques.
Dentists also recommend electric toothbrushes with a timer, which tells kids when to switch from brushing their top teeth to their bottom teeth.
Dr. Kellie McGinley, a board-certified pediatric dentist in Reno, said young kids sometimes rush the process.
“Kids, especially those in elementary school and younger, are not brushing their teeth effectively on their own,” McGinley observed. “It’s important that parents are still involved with their oral hygiene. They’re brushing for them twice a day, and they’re helping them floss at nighttime.”
Experts at United Healthcare noted a dentist can make a nightguard for kids who grind their teeth. And they emphasize gum health, citing a recent study linking gum disease with a greater risk of complications from COVID. Dentists also suggested sealants to fill in the grooves in kids’ teeth where food can get stuck and cause cavities.
McGinley pointed out water flossers are very helpful, especially for people with braces, but they cannot replace flossing.
“I don’t think that it replaces flossing and having that floss go between the contacts of where two teeth touch,” McGinley cautioned. “But it is a really good tool for kids, especially. It can be kind of fun.”
In June, Northern Nevada-area dentists are offering free care as part of the “Give Kids a Smile” event, and McGinley has teamed up with an oral surgeon to help Nevada kids born with a cleft lip and palate.
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