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Give Your Mom a Big Smile on Mother's Day

By Jill Feilmeier on May 8, 2014 in Just for Kicks

Mom on a walk with toddler

Mother's Day is right around the corner, and while you may have thousands of reasons to be thankful for your mom, one reason is displayed on your face all year round – your smile! When it comes to a child's dental health, it's moms who really make the difference.

Moms who believe in the importance of dental care will have kids with healthier smiles. If moms think dental health is important for their kids, it's likely that their children will have healthier teeth and fewer cavities, say researchers.

In one study, published in Pediatrics, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, researchers found a connection between mothers who had a positive attitude about dentists and dental care and the oral health of their children. Children of the positive mothers had healthier teeth and gums than those children whose parents didn't care as much about good dental care.

Moms who avoid putting their babies to bed with a bottle full of sugary liquid will have kids with healthier teeth. Some parents put their babies to bed with a bottle, hoping they will fall asleep faster. Many of them mistakenly fill these bottles with milk or sugary juices. Babies will fall asleep with these sugary drinks pooling on their teeth, causing severe tooth decay. This can happen even before a baby's teeth come in. If you do put a baby to bed with a bottle, fill it with tap water. Fluoride in tap water helps keep kids' teeth strong and healthy.

Children whose moms help them brush their teeth will have fewer cavities. Dentists recommend that parents clean their baby's gums with a damp washcloth even before a tooth erupts. Parents should help their children brush their teeth until they are old enough to do it themselves – usually about age 8.

So this Mother's Day, be sure to give your mom your best smile. Learn more about the importance of oral health in young children.