BEING A PARENT can be incredibly hectic. It can be hard to keep track of all the things growing kids need, which is why we’re giving our patients a list of five simple tips for staying on top of their children’s dental health — and their own!
Tips To Keep Kids Teeth Healthy
Unfortunately, many of these adverse effects of an unhealthy smile extend long after childhood, and what better time than National Children’s Dental Health Month, to share some tips for keeping kids teeth healthy
Know What to Expect from Whitening Toothpastes
We all love having pearly white teeth, parents included, but it’s important to know how whitening toothpaste work so that we can manage our expectations. These toothpaste contain polishing agents and mild abrasives to remove surface stains, but they won’t affect deeper stains. Those require more thorough whitening treatments like bleaching or microabrasion.
Be a role model.
Kids like to imitate those around them, so be a good role model and demonstrate good oral health habits for them. Brush and floss with your kids, rather than sending them into the bathroom on their own. Instead of treating it as a chore, make it part of the daily routine.
Teens and Children’s Dentistry
When you hear the term “Children’s dentist,” you might think that means kids only, but we’re still the best type of dentist to take care of a growing teenager’s teeth. Caring for an adolescent’s oral health is part of our specialized training. Your child’s face and jaws will experience a tremendous amount of growth and change in these years, and their last few permanent teeth will be coming in. It’s an incredibly important period, which requires the attention of a specialist.
Show kids under age 3 how to use a rice-size amount of toothpaste. Once kids can understand how to spit, rather than swallow the paste, they can use a pea-size amount. When teeth have grown to touch each other, kids can floss and rinse with mouthwash daily.
Looking for Teeth-Friendly Snacks? Try Cheese.
Recent research shows that one of the healthiest snacks your child can eat, particularly where their teeth are concerned, is cheese! On top of being a great source of calcium (which remineralizes tooth enamel), it also works to fight cavities by stimulating the salivary glands, which then help clear the mouth of debris and neutralize harmful acids.
Keep dental appointments.
Keep a routine of visiting the dentist twice a year, and involve your children. By keeping your appointments, you make it a normal activity, and they will make it a ritual. Your child should have their first dental appointment within 6 months of their first tooth or their first birthday, whichever comes first, and then twice a year after that.
Seal the Deal for Healthy Teeth with Sealants
A great way to protect a child’s teeth from tooth decay is sealants. Sealants are a clear plastic material painted over the deep pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth to block out bacteria and prevent decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends sealants, particularly for children with a history of tooth decay.
Talk to your kids about what they can expect at the dentist. At their dental visit, talk to your dentist about any concerns you have such as crowding, thumb sucking, losing teeth, mouth guards, and whatever else concerns you.
Eat healthy foods.
Avoiding sugary drinks and foods not only helps overall health but it can create a discussion about cavities. When sugar is allowed to sit on your teeth, it can create decay, and we all want healthy, strong teeth to enjoy the things we love.
For healthy kids' teeth, talk to your dentist about the option of having your child’s teeth sealed. Sealants can help prevent cavities and resulting fillings.
Let kids choose their toothbrush (within reason) and consider a goal chart to track their progress on a goal that leads to a reward such as going to a movie, or taking a trip to the toy store.
Don’t share germs.
Don’t share utensils, sippy cups, bottles, pacifiers, or other items with your kids or allow them to be shared with others. Bacteria in our mouths can be passed to each other and isn’t healthy. Be sure to sanitize all items that may be in your baby’s mouth to prevent bacterial infections such as thrush.
Brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes is recommended, yet not always achieved. Set a timer and use a tartar dye if desired to be sure all the teeth surfaces are reached and that brushing has happened long enough to be effective at removing plaque. There are apps available to make brushing and caring for your teeth fun.
Brush Up on Brushing
The easiest and most important method of cavity prevention is brushing your teeth, but finding the right toothbrush can be tricky. Whether you get your child a manual or electric toothbrush, it will be an essential tool in keeping their teeth healthy.
We recommend that you look for a toothbrush with soft, round-ended (polished) bristles. These will clean effectively while being gentle on the gums. Look for a brush designed for small hands and mouths, and don’t forget to replace it every three months or so. Worn-out brushes aren’t as effective!
Your child will need help brushing until they’re about 7 to 8 years old, so be sure to work with them and supervise their brushing when they begin doing it themselves so that they learn good techniques to get every tooth surface clean.
Bonus Tip: Your Best Resource Is the Dentist
Any questions you have about caring for your child’s teeth or helping them learn how to do it themselves are questions we are happy to answer. We look forward to seeing your child twice a year for their cleaning appointments. It’s an important step on the road to having healthy teeth for life!
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. Growing Smiles is a pediatric dentist in Anna, Richardson, Plano, Garland, Murphy we have Pediatric Services in Texas: Early Childhood Care, Preventive Care, General Treatments, Sedation Dentistry, Special Needs Dentistry, Emergency Service and Orthodontic (Braces & Invisalign) For more information call us to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.