MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - February is Children Dental Health Month, a time to remind parents and caregivers the importance of teaching children good oral health habits.
Jessica Thomas, with Sawgrass Pediatric Dentistry in Carolina Forest, said regular six-month checkups for children are recommended.
"This is just to set up a guideline for how things should be going and how everything looks," Thomas said. "We just like for them to (do so) early so we can get them on the right track." .
Thomas says regular cleanings are important, especially for small teeth.
"With baby teeth, cavities spread so fast," she said. "So when kids do get them, they spread like wildfire. If they do have any cavities, we can address them to make sure they don't get any more."
According to the hygienist, the American Dental Association recommends children brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. Adults are also encouraged to help them until they reach the age they can properly brush on their own.
To keep children's teeth healthy, Thomas said to limit the candy and fruit snacks. The latter, she added, are very popular, but they're not the best choice.
"Especially the gummy vitamins," Thomas said. "Some parents think that it's doing good because their kids is getting their daily vitamins. But we're actually seeing kids that do gummy vitamins have more cavities than kids who are taking the regular chewable vitamin."
Parents and caregivers should also try to avoid sodas and fruit juices, Thomas said.
She added that paying attention to children's dental health and teaching them good oral habits will last into adulthood.
"Everything starts in the mouth, so we liked to make sure their mouth is healthy so the rest of the body can be healthy," said Thomas.