Healthy mouths mean healthy smiles
You can help with your child’s daily oral care at home, in addition to scheduling regular dental visits. DFK works with our patients on preventive services.
Care of your child’s Teeth and Gums
- Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft cloth and water
- As soon as your child’s teeth erupt, brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Under age 2, use a “smear” or “rice grain” amount of toothpaste
- For 2-5-year-olds, use a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste
- Use an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and do not allow your child to swallow it
- Brush your child’s teeth until they are big enough to do a good job on their own
- Use dental floss or floss picks to remove plaque between teeth and under the gum line where a toothbrush can’t reach
- Flossing should begin when any 2 teeth touch
- Floss your child’s teeth daily until he/she can do it alone
Healthy Diet = Healthy Teeth
Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Frequent snacking is a potential cause for decay.
Crunchy foods (fresh fruits and vegetables) make better snacks than starchy, sticky foods (crackers, raisins, dried fruits). Low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses are also healthy snacks for children’s teeth. Avoid sugary drinks such as chocolate milk, juice, and sweetened drinks which cause cavities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children drink no more than 4 oz of juice a day. Juice consumption should be limited to mealtimes only.
How Do I Prevent Cavities?
Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and the leftover food particles that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe the plaque from teeth and gums. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water.
For older children, brush their teeth at least twice a day. Also, watch the number of snacks containing sugar that you give your children.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends dental visits every 6 months, starting with your child’s first birthday. Routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health. Your child’s dentist may also recommend protective sealants or fluoride treatments for your child.
A sealant is a tooth-colored material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth, where 4-out-of-5 cavities are found in children. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, protecting decay-prone areas of the teeth. Sealants have been used for many years to help prevent biting surface cavities. Sealants are easy to apply and often covered by insurance. No numbing is necessary.
Fluoride is an element, which has been shown to be beneficial to teeth and works mainly when it comes into contact with enamel.
Fluoride in drinking water along with topical fluorides in toothpaste and rinses strengthens teeth against decay. Fluoride treatments are typically recommended every 6 months to help strengthen any weak areas of the teeth and help prevent cavities.
Injuries can occur when a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports.
Stock mouth guards or boil-and-bite mouth guards from sporting goods stores should be worn for organized sports whenever possible. In addition to preventing injuries to teeth, they help prevent brain injuries and trauma to the gums, jaws, and surrounding tissues.
Custom made mouth guards can be fabricated after the mouth has finished growing.