Caring for Teeth
The most effective way to remove harmful food and bacteria from your child’s teeth and gums is by brushing them. Brushing soon after consuming food prevents food and bacteria from causing harmful acids that eventually break down the teeth.
Parents should be cleaning their children’s teeth starting at birth. Following feedings you can clean your baby’s gums by wiping their gums with a wet washcloth. Once their teeth have erupted, a soft baby toothbrush can now be used with non-fluoride toothpaste to clean their teeth after a meal. Children will need their parents’ help in brushing their teeth until they develop the manual dexterity to brush their teeth effectively by themselves. Once your child can properly spit out their toothpaste without swallowing any, they can now start using toothpaste with fluoride in it to brush. Effective cleaning can be accomplished in 1-2 minutes, using only about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Singing songs or using a timer may help your child brush the entirety of the time suggested.
It is best to brush thoroughly in the morning following breakfast and again right before it is time for bed. It is also recommended that your child brush or, at least, rinse their teeth with water after any other meals or snacks throughout the entire day.
Flossing is the one and only method for removing plaque and bacteria from those hard to reach places between the teeth. Floss is comprised of synthetic cord, which is inserted and moved in between the sides of two adjoining teeth. Flossing will successfully remove the plaque and bacteria that can cause potentially harmful cavity causing acids between the teeth. It is never too early to begin flossing you child’s teeth. Flossing on a day-to-day basis is proven to increase blood supply to the gum tissue, which in turn reduces the chances of developing cavities and gum-diseases (gingivitis, periodontal dieses).
Fluoride is found in city drinking water, several food products, toothpaste, and mouth rinses. The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have recommended the usage of fluoride. In our office, we use a fluoride varnish that absorbs into the enamel of the tooth and strengthens it. This varnish is applied directly to the teeth to boost fluoride intake of the enamel.
Mouth rinses have several benefits to your teeth and gums such as freshening breath, preventing or controlling tooth decay, reducing plaque and gingivitis, as well as reducing the formation of plaque or tarter on the teeth.
Most mouth rinses on the market today are available without prescription. Although it can be used either before or after brushing and flossing, mouth rinse is not a substitute for brushing or flossing. The use of a fluoride mouth rinse is not recommended for patients who do not spit it back out immediately after rinsing. When buying a quality mouth rinse, it is vital that you look for an ADA seal statement on the box on the product label, which assures that that product has been evaluated accurately for its safety and effectiveness.
Sealants are a tough and plastic material that protects the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where the majority of cavities are found. Sealant application is swift and easy and can be completed on your child’s initial or recall visit. Sealants cannot last forever, so they will need to be replaced as they wear away from the surface of the tooth over time. The tooth is first cleaned, and then a sealant material is brushed into the grooves of the tooth, and then hardened with a special curing light.
A balanced diet plays a key role in your child’s overall health and dental health. It is vital to eat a wide range of foods from each of the major food groups: breads, cereals, grain products, fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, and milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Foods and drinks that are eaten as an entire meal cause less harm to the teeth. More saliva is generated when eating a meal and that helps wash foods from the mouth and lessen the harmful effects of acids on teeth.
Children should always eat healthy snacks in between meals such as cheese, fruit, plain yogurt or raw veggies. If less than healthy snacks or drinks with a lot of sugar are introduced in between meals as snacks, there is a much higher chance of tooth decay caused by sugar. Every time you eat food or drinks that have sugar in them, acids attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 6-8 ounces or 1 cup of juice for children per day. Juice and milk should only be given to your children at mealtimes. Should they become thirsty in between meals, water is best.