February: National Dental Month

By Emily Koeppel, B.A. and Lindsay Hornell, BSW, B.A.,
Graduate Research Assistants in Human Development & Family Studies,
Colorado State University

February: National Dental Month

From a young age, healthy teeth habits are important to your grandchild's overall health. Right now, over 19% of children ages 2-19 have untreated cavities in the US. With February being National Dental Month, it's a great time to start making healthy dental habits a part of your grandchild's everyday routine. No matter what age of your grandchild, there are important things to do each day to help maintain healthy teeth.

Here are some tips that you can incorporate into your everyday routine to improve and keep up on your grandchild's dental health:

  • Schedule a dental checkup every six months.
  • Encourage your grandchild to eat healthy foods and limit sweets and sugary drinks.
  • Make a twice-daily routine to brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day with your grandchild.
  • When brushing, to avoid using too much toothpaste, only use a pea-size amount. Encourage your grandchild to spit out extra toothpaste and rinse well after brushing.
  • For infants, clean teeth with a soft cloth or a baby toothbrush at least once a day.
  • Do not put your infant to bed with a bottle to avoid stains and spots on his or her teeth.

Often times it can seem impossible to get your grandchild to cooperate and sit still long enough while practicing these healthy dental habits. Here are some suggestions for trying to make oral hygiene fun for your grandchild.

  • Let them pick out their own toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • Try brushing your teeth at the same time as them.
  • Take turns singing songs such as the ABC's while you get a chance to brush your grandchild's teeth and while your grandchild gets a chance to brush his or her own teeth.
  • Provide small stickers for grandchildren to place on their toothbrush after each time they clean their teeth.
  • The American Dental Association provides fun coloring and activity sheets for your grandchild to do. Print them off here.

If insurance does not cover the cost of routine dental checkups for your grandchild, there are several low cost dental places available. Fees are based on a sliding scale determined by income. For a list of Colorado low cost dental offices, click here.

Following these suggestions at a young age can help your grandchild have healthy dental habits for the rest of his or her life. For more information about how to improve your grandchild's dental habits click here.



National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2009 With Special Feature on Medical Technology. Hyattsville, MD: 2010 [PDF 10.31MB]