Even before teeth erupt into the mouth, it is important to wipe the gums with a moist washcloth after each feeding. Begin daily brushing as soon as the first tooth erupts. We recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush with a ‘smear’ of fluoridated toothpaste for children under 2 years and a ‘pea-size’ amount of toothpaste for children ages 2 through 5 years. For older children, we suggest reviewing proper tooth brushing procedures until they are old enough to brush by themselves. Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene, and should be initiated when teeth adjacent to each other come into contact. If you notice signs of decay, contact us immediately.
We recommend that you schedule your child’s first dental visit when the first tooth comes in or when children reach their first birthday. By seeing your child early, we have an opportunity to discuss and recommend oral health practices that can reduce the risk of developing caries.
Children need a variety of foods from the five major food groups. The more frequently a child snacks on sugary foods and beverages, the greater the chance for tooth decay. How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For your children’s snacks, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, yogurt, popcorn and cheese. Consider giving your child milk or water instead of soda and juice. These nutritious foods offer significant health benefits for children's growing bodies and teeth over gummy snacks, candy bars, and hard candies.
Dental sealants are a plastic resin material that reduces the risk of caries in the pits and grooves of susceptible teeth. They are indicated for the back teeth with deep grooves that are hard to reach with the toothbrush. If left alone, these grooves can develop tooth decay. Sealants are applied to the deep grooves and provide a smooth surface that is less likely to harbor plaque. Thus sealants give your teeth extra protection against food and bacteria build-up and help prevent cavities.
Fluoride is an element that when used in conjunction with tooth brushing, flossing and dental sealants, reduces the risk of tooth decay. We recommend an individualized caries risk assessment for each child before prescribing supplemental fluoride. Many children may already be exposed to fluoride through their diet (e.g. drinking water sources, consumed beverages, prepared foods) and toothpaste.
A fluoride treatment in the office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients will be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride.
When choosing your own at-home fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash, check for the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined by the ADA and approved, based on safety and effectiveness.
When a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. A properly fitted mouth guard is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child’s teeth, and should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth. The American Dental Association recommends that children wear mouthguards when participating in soccer, volleyball, basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, weightlifting, wrestling and any other contact sports.
There are three basic types of mouth guards: the pre-made mouth guard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouth guard, and a custom-made mouth guard from your dentist. When you choose a mouth guard, pick one that is comfortable and well fitted for your mouth. At your next dental checkup, ask your dentist about mouth guards.