Dr. Brant Boling's Pediatric Dental Topics discusses how oral/dental care in children will help them prevent cavities and maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Research has shown the earlier you start oral/dental care in children, the more likely you will help them prevent cavities and maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Here are 10 tips to help keep teeth healthy and strong from age one to adulthood.
- Begin Early: Dental care should begin before the first tooth emerges. Take a cool, wet cloth and gently wipe the upper and lower gums helps to remove left over food particles. When the first tooth appears, begin using a soft toothbrush with water. It is recommend to not start using toothpaste until your child can spit.
- First Dental Appointment: The American Dental Association recommends that every child visit the dentist at age one or when the first tooth appears. Your dentist will discuss with your child’s dental development and ways to help prevent decay in the future.
- Sealants: Sealants are a plastic type coating that is brushed over the molars and chewing surfaces of the teeth. This protective coating can help in preventing decay in the pits and fissures of the teeth.
- Fluoride: Make sure your child is receiving an adequate amount of fluoride. Fluoride is in important in preventing dental decay. Most tap water contains fluoride making it a favorable choice over bottled water. Most toothpaste and oral rinses contain fluoride. Fluoride should be used in moderation in young children. Too much can cause white spots on the teeth, also know as dental fluorosis.
- Brushing and Flossing: To maintain healthy gums and teeth brush the teeth twice daily. Flossing should begin as soon as two teeth touch together. Flossing helps remove any food particles that may become trapped between the teeth.
- Avoid Sugary Foods: Limit the amount of sugary food and drinks. When bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars, it produces an acid that can decay or erode the tooth enamel. Sugary drinks such as juice and soft drinks are not a wise choice, because people tend to sip these drinks, raising the acid level in the mouth over a longer period of time. Sticky candy and fruit chews also stick the teeth and can cause decay over time.
- Healthy Eating: A well-balanced diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums. Crunchy vegetables help fight against cavities. Omega 3 oils, such as those found in fish, have been linked to reducing inflammation and lowering the risk for gum disease.
- Mouth Guards: A mouth guard is recommend if your child is in a sport. A custom-fitted mouth guard can be made in the office or you can purchase one at a local sporting goods store.
- No Smoking: Tobacco stains the enamel on the teeth and also increases the risk of oral and gum cancer. Encourage children to remain tobacco free.
- Regular Dental Visits: To maintain a healthy smile a visit to the dentist every 6 months is recommended.