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Oral Health Care Guidelines For Your Children

January 5, 2014

Filed under: Children's Dentist — Tags: , — pontevedra @ 1:40 am

Historically many people have seen children’s oral healthcare as almost optional.  The care of deciduous teeth, otherwise known as baby teeth, was seen as of little importance.  The idea was that they will fall out so the worst case scenario is not all that bad.  This could not be further from the reality of the situation.  Oral healthcare of deciduous teeth and a child’s gums and mouth are extremely important for the health of the permanent teeth as well as the overall health of the child.  Neglecting the proper care can lead to irreparable problems later on and significant costs that are associated.  This blog provides some tips and fundamentals of how to provide the best care of your child’s teeth and oral health.

Why is it Important?

The importance of proper care for children can be shown in several different ways.  Cavities are the most common chronic health problem in children.  If that is not reason enough to attempt proper care the future implications can be addressed.  Children follow by example.  A parent’s influence can affect the child’s habits for years to come.  The correction of dental problems that arise from neglect can be costly and difficult to deal with in the future.

Is My Child’s Diet Important?

The answer to this is absolutely yes, your child’s diet is very important.  Bacteria love sugar.  They will essentially eat the sugar and their byproducts directly lead to tooth decay.  Avoiding foods and drinks high in sugar is important in childhood as well as adulthood so this is a great time to help develop proper oral healthcare habits.  Drinks that are high in sugar can be avoided and replaced with water.  Drinks like grape juice also can cause extrinsic stains to your child’s teeth that become difficult to remove.

The First Two Years

Teeth are not the only place in the oral cavity that accumulate bacteria and their byproducts.  With this in mind it is important to maintain a clean mouth for your child even before teeth begin to erupt.  A damp washcloth or soft hand towel can be used to wipe the child’s gums.  This should be done after feedings.  Milk contains sugars that provide a stable diet for bacteria.

Upon the eruption of the first teeth, a soft bristled toothbrush should be used to brush the teeth regularly.  Oral B Stage 1 toothbrush is specifically designed for this purpose.  It covers a broad surface and massages the gums as well.

Dental visits should be scheduled so that proper screening and examinations can be done.  The rule of thumb for the first dental visit is “first visit by first birthday”.  A visit earlier than that cannot hurt but most pediatric dentists follow this guideline.

Baby bottle decay can lead quickly to cavities.  To prevent this it is important to never let your child go to sleep with a bottle containing sugary substances, even milk.  Water should be used.

Two to Four Years

This period is when the use of fluoridated toothpaste should begin.  Fluoride protects the tooth enamel from the penetration of bacteria and prevents decay.  It is important, however, to ensure that too much fluoride is never used.  Fluorosis is the overload of fluoride.  In a developing child this can lead to tooth discoloration that is irreversible.  If fluoridated toothpaste is used, it is best to keep it out of the reach of children until they are of a responsible age.

Brushing should be monitored by parents.  This not only ensures that the proper brushing time is maintained but also the technique is important.  Studies have shown that even more important than proper technique, a two minute brushing is the most effective form of cleaning to prevent plaque buildup.  In addition to this, ensuring that the child is brushing the furthest few teeth in the back is important.  These teeth are often neglected and this is where most of the early cavities take place.  Until the child has developed the proper mechanics and coordination to brush effectively, you should assist them or brush for them.

Five Years and Older

The use of fluoridated toothpaste is important during this stage as well.  Children in this range begin to develop their molar teeth.  These are the most susceptible to decay and should be brushed properly.  Some toothbrushes are designed to clean both deciduous and permanent teeth properly.

This is the time when proper brushing and flossing techniques need to be developed and enforced.  For a thorough guide on how to establish these techniques you can read our post on proper oral healthcare procedures.

Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry is a general and cosmetic dentist located in Ponte Vedra Florida. PVCD features caring, trained and skilled doctors who will work hand-in-hand with you to create a treatment plan that protects and restores your teeth and bite to their ultimate health and beauty, and a staff ready to address your every need. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation please call Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry at (904) 285-7711 or contact us online.

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