If you haven’t already, it’s time to bring your children back to the dentist

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have offset many families dentist appointments, Consumer Reports wants to remind you that it is very important to keep up to date on your dentist appointments.

One of the best ways to protect your children’s teeth is by teaching them good oral habits from a young age. And even though the COVID-19 pandemic delayed dental care for many families, now is the time to get back on track.

Dental offices are following rigorous safety measures so parents feel comfortable taking their children to the dentist.

“As with everything with the pandemic, a little apprehension is normal, but it’s important to maintain good oral health,” said Dr. Mrunal Parmar, a pediatric dentist. “Their routine visits are important and you want to maintain that proper care and that foundation.”

Cavities are the most common childhood disease. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that by age 3, one in four children will have one or more cavities. That’s why it is important to teach our children good oral hygiene habits from an early age.

Your children’s first dental visit should be within the first six months after their first tooth erupts, and no later than their first year of age, and then every six months after that.

“It goes beyond just cleaning teeth,” Parmar said. “It also helps build habits and routines that carry to other aspects of their lives.”

And it’s also important for parents to help kids maintain healthy habits at home.

“Brushing twice a day, flossing. Kids are no different than adults: we take care of ourselves. We want to take care of their teeth,” Parmar said.

As soon as your child has a tooth, help him by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. At age 3, you can start using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste, which helps prevent cavities -- but no more than a smear or about the size of a grain of rice. It’s important to supervise to ensure children only use the appropriate amount.

MORE ONLINE: Consumer Reports | American Dental Association