The key to loving your smile can be good dental hygiene, which is emphasized during Children’s Dental Health Month.

Dr. Dan Nelson with Springbrook Family Dentistry in Guthrie Center says children should start regularly visiting the dentist, at least annually, before their first birthday. Some might wonder how a dentist can perform an exam for someone that young, but Nelson describes the process, “Kids typically three and under, we do what’s called a knee-to-knee exam. You sit with the parent and you have the kid face the parent and then sit back kind of on the dentist’s lap. And mostly just take a look around, look for white spots on the teeth, look for how teeth are developing, how they’re coming in, and again the soft tissue profile and making sure everything’s okay or if it’s not, getting that taken care of.”

Nelson says it’s important to start these visits young, and to start brushing your kids teeth once they start coming in. He adds that early childhood cavities are the single most chronic childhood disease, and that childhood tooth decay is five times more common than asthma, four times more common than childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than diabetes.