Hygiene For Your Children
As a parent it is important to encourage and assist your child in good oral hygiene. You should help your child with his or her brushing until around the age of 6 years old, and you should help your child floss when their teeth have contact with one another. This is dependent on the child and you should ask your dentist when it is time to start flossing his or her teeth. A good way to encourage your child to brush his or her teeth is to explain why it is important. You want to talk to your child about the sugar bugs in their mouths and how it is important to brush the sugar bugs away so that they have clean and healthy teeth. You also want to try to use the tell-show-do method to get your children brushing the right way. You want to show your child how you brush your teeth using circles and then have them brush their own teeth in the same manner. It is important to develop a good brushing routine as early as possible. ACT fluoride rinse for kids is also a good adjunctive rinse to help prevent cavities in kids old enough to spit out the rinse.
Your child’s first visit to the dentist
It is recommended by the academy of pediatric dentistry that you take your child to the dentist at age one. However, we have found in our office that most kids do well seeing a dentist at around 21/2 to 3 years of age. The reason for this is that we find that the kids have a better first experience at the dentist which excites them for their future visits. A good first experience goes a long way in a child’s overall attitude towards their hygiene and going to the dentist.
However, at any age, if you have any questions or if you just want us to take a look, do not hesitate to call. Conditions that may warrant an early visit include bleeding gums, bumps on the gums, stained teeth or if your child is irritable while pointing to their mouth.
At your child’s first visit to the dentist we will make sure that your child is comfortable and will slowly introduce your child to the new environment by using the tell-show-do method. We will evaluate your child for tooth development, facial growth and development as well as evaluate your child’s risk for cavities. If x-rays are necessary, they will be taken at this time. We will also try to give your child a cleaning depending on how he or she is doing.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANINGS AND REGULAR 6-MONTH RECALL VISITS ARE THE BEST WAYS TO PREVENT ORAL DISEASE. REGULAR VISITS ALLOWS US TO DETECT DECAY AND GUM DISEASE EARLIER SO THAT YOUR CHILD DOESN’T HAVE WORSENING CONDITIONS LIKE ABSCESSES THAT LEAD TO TOOTH LOSS.
Fluoride and it’s importance
Fluoride is a very important part in maintaining healthy teeth. We offer fluoride to all of our kids as it is a strong anti-cavity agent. We provide fluoride in two different forms. The first form is a foam that is placed in fluoride trays that are placed in your child’s mouth for a total of 4 minutes. The other form is a fluoride varnish that is painted on the teeth. Both forms are very effective in strengthening teeth as well as providing an anti-cavity. Your child will be asked not to consume any foods or liquids for a half hour following treatment because this is the time for maximum fluoride uptake in their teeth.
Fluoride in your water
It is very important for your child to have access to fluorinated water while their teeth are developing. This is actually more important than topical fluoride applied on the teeth at the dentist. The reason it is so important is that the fluoride will actually integrate into the composition of your child’s teeth while they are developing during growth. The fluoride that becomes part of the teeth will cause the teeth to be much more resistant to cavities. Therefore, it is very important for your child to drink fluorinated water. Sources of fluorinated water are city water, bottle water with fluoride for kids, or if your on a well without fluoride you can have fluoride drops prescribed for your child at the dentist.
Dental sealants are very effective in preventing cavities on the top surfaces of your child’s permanent molars. A sealant is a thin layer of material that is placed over the biting surface of the teeth. They work by preventing bacterial growth in the small deep grooves on the molar surfaces. These grooves are very prone to decay because they are difficult to clean. Sealants work best when applied just after the 1st molars erupt, which is around six years of age.
Your Child’s Diet
It is our opinion that a child’s diet is one of the most important factors for the prevention of tooth decay. In fact, a good diet is just as important as brushing and flossing your child’s teeth. Sugary foods and liquids are harsh on your child’s teeth. Bacteria consumes the sugar as a food source and turns it into acid. It is this acid that is constantly eating away at the tooth structure that causes a cavity. It is important to minimize the amount and frequency of sugar in your child’s diet to promote good oral health. Encourage your child to rinse with water and/or brush after each meal.