Skyline Dental is a Family Dental Practice. We love to see kids and have been treating children in our office for over 40 years. We wanted to review the basics and essentials of oral care for children with all the parents in our practice to help ensure that they are providing the healthiest smiles and teeth for their children.
With good preventive oral care at home and regular dental visits, our current generation of children should hopefully reach adulthood without suffering from tooth decay or other oral health problems.
Diet & Your Children’s Teeth
Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms regularly on our teeth. When combined with excess sugar from foods and drinks, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that can damage tooth enamel. Repeated acid penetration on teeth can break down the enamel and result in a cavity.
Frequent snacks in between meals, or repeated sips of sugary drinks (juices, sports drinks, sodas), exposes the teeth to repeated acid buildup and problems for the teeth.
Be sure your child eats a balanced diet with foods from the major food groups. Choose healthy snacks in between meals which are not high in sugar. Save sweets for mealtime, when the mouth makes more saliva to help rinse and buffer food particles.
Importance of a Clean Smile
Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day are habits children should learn early on, in order to maintain a healthy mouth for life.
- Choose a child-size toothbrush with soft bristles. The toothbrush should be replaced about every four months.
- For children under the age of two, brush the teeth gently with water and consult with one of our dentists if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste.
- For children two to six years of age, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is all that is needed. It’s important for the child to spit out the toothpaste foam.
- Younger children obviously need their parents or caretakers to help them with their brushing and flossing. As children grow and develop more motor skills, they’ll still need reminders and monitoring from their parents to ensure regularity and consistency in their oral hygiene practices.
Fluoride Can Strengthen Enamel
Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengths teeth and helps protect them from acid breakdown and decay. Since we live in a non-fluoridated community, the vast majority of local dentists and physicians prescribe fluoride supplements for children in our area.
Fluoride can also be found in many types of toothpastes, mouth rinses and treatments applied in dental offices. Talk with one of our Dentists or Hygienists about your child’s fluoride needs to ensure that they are getting the right amount.
Sealants Help Protect Teeth
Sealants are a thin, protective coating that dentists apply onto the chewing surfaces of children’s teeth to help protect them from acid exposure and decay. Sealants can last 5-8 years and may need to be reapplied periodically. Sealants are a painless, simple and preventive measure that has proven safe and effective over time.
Regular Dental Visits
Plan your child’s first dental visit within six months after their first tooth appears. Consider this appointment a “well-baby checkup” for your child’s teeth.
Routine dental checkups, cleanings, and fluoride treatments help instill healthy habits and teeth for a lifetime. Preventive measures that assist in protecting the teeth will be started early. Potential issues such as cavities, missing teeth, or abnormalities will be addressed in their earliest stages. Proper tooth development, eruption, crowding, and other potential orthodontic issues will be diagnosed and future options will be discussed.
Probably the most important thing about regular dental visits is the reinforcement of proper brushing, flossing, and oral hygiene techniques and measures by the Dental Hygienists and Dentists for your child; which supplements your efforts at home.
Sports-related dental injuries can be minimized by wearing a mouthguard. Mouthguards are available at sporting goods stores or can be custom-made at our office for your young athlete.