February is National Children's Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month - brush up on your kids’ dental care!

We know learning good dental health habits early is an important part of overall health for children. Regular dental care for your child is important to maintain excellent health.

Aetna Better Health and Aetna Better Health Kids members have dental benefits through DentaQuest. Your child can go to any dentist in the DentaQuest network. 

If you haven’t already, call your child’s dentist and schedule a dental visit. If you don’t have a dentist for your child or have questions about dental benefits, call DentaQuest Member Services at:

  • 1‑888‑307‑6548, TTY 1-800-466-7566 (Medical Assistance)  
  • 1-800-536-4970, TTY PA Relay 7-1-1 (CHIP)

Common dental care questions:

  • When should my child go to the dentist? Take your baby to a pediatric dentist between when their teeth start to show and their first birthday. First teeth usually appear at around 6 months of age.
  • How often should my child go to the dentist? Children should go at least twice a year, six months apart. A dentist or your child’s primary doctor may recommend that your child should go more if they find dental problems.
  • Do we need a referral from my child’s doctor for a dental visit? Your child doesn’t need a referral for a dental visit. However, your child’s doctor will ask if you have a dentist and can assist you in finding a dental home.
  • What services are covered?
    • Checkups
    • Cleanings
    • Fillings
    • Any medically necessary dental services listed in your Member Handbook

Care for a smile that lasts a lifetime. Remember, dental disease knows no age limit, and can begin attacking teeth as soon as they appear. The earlier your child begins visiting the dentist, the better to help your child be cavity-free.

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Tips for keeping your child’s teeth healthy

Brush! The most important part of any dental hygiene program is brushing. Then, be sure to:

  1. See the dentist. Young children need to see the dentist between when their teeth start to show and their first birthday. First teeth usually appear at around 6 months of age.
  2. Ask about sealant. If your child is age 6 to 15, talk to your dentist about dental sealant. This special coating will help keep them from getting cavities in their larger teeth, called molars. Sealants are for permanent molars only. And remember, sealants don’t work on teeth that already have cavities.
  3. Limit sugar. Try to limit the amount of sugary drinks and sweet treats your child has. Sugar in things like cookies, candy and soda can lead to tooth decay.
  4. Fluoride is an important element to ward off cavities. It hardens the enamel and makes it harder for acid to penetrate the teeth. Always use toothpaste that contains fluoride. In many towns and cities, tap water has fluoride added. Your child’s doctor or dentist will know if your water is fluoridated. If it isn’t, your dentist might give you a fluoride supplement. For some children, the dentist might start applying topical fluoride even before all teeth come in. This also can be done by your child’s primary care doctor.
  5. Talk to your child’s primary care doctor (PCP). One of a PCP's most important jobs is to help keep kids in good physical and dental health. Your child’s doctor knows your child. He or she will help you make decisions related to your child’s dental care and treatment. This is called preventive care.

Visit the Pennsylvania Dental Association website for free online dental resources for parents and kids.