It’s a good idea to begin introducing oral hygiene as early as possible.
- It is recommended that your child sees a dentist no later than his/her first birthday.
- Clean your infant’s gums after each feeding with a water-soaked infant cloth
- Gently brush your baby’s erupted teeth with a small, soft-bristled brush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride
- Teach proper brushing techniques to your toddler; Introduce gentle flossing as early as age seven
Introduce gentle flossing as early as age 7
- Schedule regular dental check-ups
- Talk to your children about any fears they have; be sure not to mention words like “pain” or “hurt” to avoid associating these feelings with trips to the dentist
Parents are responsible for ensuring their children practice good dental hygiene.
What is Tooth Decay?
When sugar combines with naturally occurring bacteria found in the mouth, it produces acids that break down the minerals in teeth, forming a cavity. We call this process tooth decay.
To treat tooth decay, dentists remove decay from the tooth and fill the cavity. Nerve damage can result from severe tooth decay and may require a crown, which caps or covers the tooth and makes it stronger.
You can prevent tooth decay by brushing and flossing twice day, scheduling regular dental checkups, using fluoride treatments, and reducing the amount of sugar in your diet. Good dental hygiene can help you avoid unhealthy, painful teeth, and costly treatment.
Should I Be Concerned About Thumb-Sucking?
Thumb-sucking is completely natural. Babies and toddlers use it as a way to soothe and comfort themselves. Children will usually stop the habit on their own between age two and four. However, if thumb-sucking continues after primary teeth erupt, it could cause problems.
Here are some tips to help you wean your child off the habit:
Focus on eliminating the cause of anxiety that may be contributing to thumb sucking
Praise your child when they refrain from thumb sucking; do not scold them when they suck their thumb
Place a bandage on the thumb or a sock over the hand at bedtime
Tooth decay is the most common chronic condition among American children.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take care of your teeth now to prevent more serious problems down the road.
It can be difficult — even impossible — to clean the grooves and depressions in the back teeth, especially for children. Tooth sealants protect these areas and prevent bacteria and food particles from reacting to form tooth decay, which causes cavities. The treatment involves applying a resin to the teeth and lasts for several years. The sealant does need to be checked during regular appointments.
Fluoride helps strengthen teeth and resist decay, which is why drinking water is often fluoridated. A dentist can check the fluoride level in your primary drinking water and recommend fluoride supplements (usually as tablets or drops), if needed.