Oral Hygiene for Kids
Teeth can remain healthy for a lifetime if you properly care for them – and the best time is as soon as they begin to develop. By establishing good dental hygiene routines for your kids from the start, you’ll provide them with the best means of maintaining healthy teeth forever.
Oral Hygiene for Kids
Tooth decay is an infectious oral disease caused by bacteria that eventually leads to tooth loss and other dental issues. Once it occurs, it can form a cavity in the enamel and continue deeper into the tooth, thereby causing discomfort, gum swelling, difficulty in eating and speaking, and the need for fillings or root canal treatment. The good news is that tooth decay (also known as caries) is preventable.
The basic means to good dental health is plaque removal. Plaque is the sticky, whitish film that collects on the teeth without effective oral hygiene. Decay-causing bacteria thrive comfortably in plaque, where they break down sugary foods that get stuck in the mouth. By doing so, they produce acid byproducts that resorb teeth. This is how a cavity starts in teeth.
Ascertaining the most effective procedure for plaque removal, cavities, and decay prevention depends on your child’s age.
Oral Health for Babies
Babies can have a form of tooth decay known as early childhood caries. This happens when they are allowed to sleep with a bottle filled with other liquids aside from water. The sugars in milk (even breast milk, juice, and formula) can circulate the teeth and serve as food for decay-causing bacteria.
If you need to soothe your baby to bed, a pacifier or bottle filled with water is safer for baby teeth – that is, until about age 3. At this point, sucking habits should be cautioned to prevent orthodontic issues from arising later on.
Brush your baby’s first teeth carefully with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush, using a very tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste at least once a day at bedtime. Before the front teeth are entirely developed, you can use a water-soaked cloth to clean around the teeth and gums.
Ensure your child’s first visit to the dentist is by age 1. There, you can master proper hygiene techniques and have your little one examined for signs of early decay. You can also get a recommendation for a fluoride supplement if needed.
Dental Services in Elkin, NC
Dental Hygiene for Children
From age 3, you can start teaching your child to brush with child-sized toothbrushes and no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. However, know that children will need help brushing their teeth until about age 6, when they have developed fine motor skills to perform an effective job themselves.
It’s highly crucial to begin encouraging healthy dietary habits at this time. Your kid will have lower plaque buildup and decay if you limit their soda and sugary foods consumption. As a parent, you can instill this behavior in your child by being their model. After all, monkey see, monkey do! When sugary treats are allowed, they should come at mealtimes and not in between. This will make certain that your child is not establishing any favorable conditions for oral bacteria to flourish.
During your child’s twice-yearly dental checkups and cleanings, topical fluoride can be applied to strengthen the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to erosion and decay. If needed, dental sealants can be used for the molars and premolars. This prevents food particles and bacteria from storing in the tiny grooves where a toothbrush can’t reach.
Oral Hygiene for Teens
In their teenage years, your children are primarily responsible for maintaining dental health daily – but you can continually guide them to make good dietary and behavioral choices. These include drinking enough water and staying off soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, all of which possess a high acidic concentration.
Hygienic habits such as avoiding tobacco and alcohol and engaging in regular oral visits to our dental office in Elkin, NC, for cleanings and examinations should be encouraged. This is significant if your teen wears braces, making it more challenging to keep teeth clean.
Remember that it’s not too early to help your kids develop healthy oral habits that will last a lifetime.
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