February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and it’s a good time for parents and children to renew a commitment to healthy dental habits. Fidelis Care offers the following tips to keep teeth healthy and strong as children grow:
Brushing and flossing
• Starting with the first tooth, parents can use a soft cloth, or brush, and water for baby teeth.
• Fluoride toothpaste can be used after age 2. Parents can brush children’s teeth and begin to teach good habits, including flossing, until children can brush and floss on their own.
• Brush at least twice a day to remove plaque.
• Floss daily. Flossing does what brushing can’t. It cleans spaces between teeth that toothbrushes can’t reach.
Eating healthy foods
• Don’t give toddlers juice or sugary liquids in bottles or sippy cups at bedtime. Sugars can stay on the teeth overnight and cause decay.
• Children should eat healthy foods with protein, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and D.
• Choose “teeth-friendly” snacks such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt and fruit. Avoid sugary snacks.
• Soda can damage teeth. If children do drink soda, choose a sugar-free soda and use a straw to avoid contact with teeth.
Visiting the dentist
• All children should have at least one visit to the dentist every year.
• Children can begin checkups at the first tooth, but no later than age 1.
• Ask your child’s dentist about fluoride varnish or sealant for extra teeth protection.
Children are most likely to be seen regularly by a dentist when they have health insurance. Almost all children up to age 19 in New York State qualify for free or low-cost health insurance through the State-sponsored program Child Health Plus, offered by Fidelis Care. Routine, preventive and emergency dental care are covered benefits when seeking care from a qualified participating dental services provider.
For more information or to apply for enrollment throughout the year, call 1-888-FIDELIS (1-888-343-3547), visit fideliscare.org, or meet with a representative at a Fidelis Care community office:
Flushing Community Office: 36-36 Main St., Suite 2SB, Flushing, NY 11354, phone: (718) 896-4511
Bronx Community Office: 815 East Tremont Ave., Bronx, NY 10460, phone: (718) 896-2531
Chinatown Community Office: 168 Canal St., Suite 308, New York, NY 10013, phone: (212) 226-6157
Inwood Community Office: 100-02 Post Ave., New York, NY 10034, phone: (212) 942-3111
Sunset Park Community Office: 837 58 St., 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11220, phone: (718) 633-5308
Westbury Community Office: 180 Post Ave., Westbury, NY 11590, phone: (516) 334-6588
About Fidelis Care:
As the New York State Catholic Health Plan, Fidelis Care offers quality, affordable coverage for children and adults of all ages and at all stages of life, including products available through New York State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace. With more than 975,000 members in 59 counties statewide, Fidelis Care was founded on the belief that all New Yorkers should have access to affordable, quality health insurance. For more information, call Fidelis Care at 1 (888) FIDELIS (343-3547) or visit fideliscare.org.
Follow them on Twitter at @fideliscare and on Facebook at facebook.com/fideliscare.