Information for Parents
Proper care of the teeth plays an important role in preventing the most common chronic childhood disease, tooth decay. Too many children go without proper dental care, affecting everything from their overall health to their performance in school. Illinois law requires dental exams for children in Kindergarten, 2nd and 6th grades.
At home, parents can encourage good oral health in easy ways:
- Taking your child to see a dentist six months after the first tooth comes in or by one year of age (whichever comes first).
- Give water instead of soda or juice. Soda and juice have lots of sugar. Follow the guidelines of the Illinois State Dental Society "Got Rot" campaign.
- Children should receive sealants as soon as the back teeth come in. Dental sealants are protective coatings applied to the back teeth where decay occurs most often. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting teeth from bacteria and the acid that attacks enamel.
- Assist children in brushing their teeth until age six. Children may think they are able to brush on their own, but they lack the skills to brush hard-to-reach places well.
- Fluoride is essential for preventing decay and maintaining healthy teeth. Some ways to receive fluoride protection include: drinking fluoridated water; receiving a fluoride application in the dental office; brushing with fluoride toothpaste; using a fluoride mouth rinse for children over age six.
- Discourage children from thumb and finger sucking.