Prevention And Dental Care Are Important To Children
Did you know that dental disease is largely preventable? By making your child’s oral health a priority now, you can ensure their teeth and gums are healthy for a lifetime.
Creating a dental routine early can ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles for your child. Baby teeth are important teeth, and cavity prevention starts even before the first tooth appears. By teaching your children the benefits of brushing and flossing, you are putting them on a course to have a “Healthy Smile”.
The keys to a “Healthy Smile” for your child are:
- Early and regular visits to the dentist for checkups and preventive treatment. (Every 6 months or the dentist’s recommendation.)
- Providing healthy, nutritious, non-cavity causing foods for your child. (Limit the amount and frequency of sugars.)
- Brush your child’s teeth twice a day and floss once a day to remove harmful germs from your child’s mouth.
How do I know when to replace my toothbrush?
Toothbrushes have become much more technical and complex over the years. They have also become more expensive. This may leave you wondering if you can go a bit longer before you replace your toothbrush. Even today’s more technical toothbrushes need to be changed regularly to maintain their effectiveness. If you wait until your toothbrush looks worn and frayed, then you have probably waited too long. Worn bristles lose their ability to easily scrape plaque and calculus from the teeth and gum line.
It is recommended you change your toothbrush every three to four months. Marking the back of your brush with the date you open it is an easy way to keep track. Or you can time your toothbrush changes with the seasons. Children can be particularly hard on a toothbrush which may require more frequent replacement.
If you find that your brush looks almost new at the end of four months, it may be an indication that you are not brushing long enough. It takes two minutes of brushing for a thorough cleaning and to allow the fluoride to work.
Look for a toothbrush with the American Dental Association seal of approval, one that is soft, and fits your mouth comfortably enough to brush properly.
How do I choose a dentist for my child?
Selecting the proper dentist is a very important step in ensuring your child’s health. The question is…should you find a pediatric dentist or can he or she visit the family dentist? ?Many children are treated by a general dentist who already has a well-established relationship with the entire family. However, every child is different and your son or daughter may require the more kid-focused approach offered by a pediatric dentist.
Pediatric dentists generally have two to three years of additional training beyond four years of dental school. The additional training provides hands-on experience emphasizing child psychology, growth and development. They learn how to examine and treat apprehensive children in ways that make them feel comfortable and safe.
Pediatric dentists alter their approach through the various stages of child development. During infancy the focus is on prevention and education, compared with adolescence when the emphasis may shift to restoring or correcting teeth along with preventive care and dealing with issues such as oral piercing, tobacco/drug use and safe cosmetic options.
When you choose, it really comes down to the child’s needs and your current dentist’s practice. Your pediatrician and current dentist are good resources as you make this important decision.