Help Children Remain Cavity-free. Oral hygiene for kids is vitally important so that they can have healthy primary (baby) and secondary (permanent) teeth. In addition, taking care of the mouth and gums can prevent problems such as halitosis or gingivitis. However, most parents are concerned about helping their children remain cavity-free. This is because the decay in a tooth will require drilling-and-filling for a small cavity or a dental crown for a larger cavity. Not only do children want to avoid needing a filling or crown, but also, extensive decay can lead to an infection, requiring a root canal procedure.
Guidelines to Help Children Remain Cavity-free
1: Consuming a Nutritious Diet Each Day
Your children require a nutritious daily diet to protect their teeth from decay. By consuming a balanced diet, your child will have stronger enamel on their teeth. And the bone and gums will remain healthier. When your child consumes vegetables and fruits, they are improving the condition of their immune system, helping to prevent gum infections that can damage the jawbone and sensitive gum tissue. You should also limit your child’s consumption of junk foods such as candy and soft drinks because the carbohydrates in these foods feed the bacteria that may accumulate in their mouths.
2: Teach Your Child About Dental Hygiene
It is essential to begin teaching your child how to brush their teeth. Do this at a young age by learning about proper oral hygiene for kids. You can find cavity activity lesson plans at online websites for free. These worksheets are a fun way for your child to learn more about their mouth, gums and teeth. Some of these cavity activity worksheets are designed for preschoolers while others are appropriate for older children who attend elementary school. Regular visits to the general or pediatric dentist, starting no later than age 1, can also help reinforce proper brushing and flossing techniques.
3: Provide Toothpaste That Your Child Likes
Most children don’t like mint-flavored toothpaste because it burns their gums, but you can find kid-friendly toothpaste at local drugstores. Your son might like to use toothpaste that tastes like grapes or berries, but you must remember that toddlers should use toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride. Help younger children squirt toothbrush onto a toothbrush so that they can try to brush their own teeth.
4: Buy the Appropriate Toothbrush For a Child
Don’t expect a toddler to use an adult-size toothbrush that has a large head and a long handle. Look for a smaller toothbrush that a young child can hold easily while he brushes his teeth. Children (and adults for that matter!) should never use toothbrushes that have stiff and hard bristles. Provide them with a soft bristled toothbrush to prevent damage to the teeth and gums.
5: Discourage Thumb-sucking
Sucking the thumb or fingers is bad for your child’s teeth, so please discourage this bad habit as soon as you see it happen. Orthodontic pacifiers are available that will sufficiently provide an alternative to your child’s thumb or fingers. Many people think this is a “cute” habit. On the contrary, the results that can come from such a habit can be devastating to a child’s bite! If your child has engaged in this terrible habit already, then he may have pushed his teeth out of alignment. Schedule an appointment with an orthodontist to determine if your child has malocclusions at a young age so that you can begin the proper treatment as soon as possible. In some cases, young children must begin orthodontic treatment at an early age to prevent major problems later.
6: Use Dental Floss or Water Flossers Daily
Another way to remain cavity-free is by flossing at least once a day. Traditional dental floss helps remove the food particles that collect between teeth and along the gums. Buy dental floss that is easy for your child to use. Dental floss is available in small plastic containers or as dental picks, and you can find it in a variety of tasty flavors. A popular alternative to dental floss, especially for young children, is a water flosser. A Water Pik is a popular brand of water flosser that may be a safer alternative for young children. Improper use of floss by young children could potentially damage the gums.
7: Stay Away From Sugary Beverages
Avoid giving your children sugary beverages such as energy, sports, and soft drinks. Not only do these beverages provide few nutrients, but the acids in these beverages can erode your child’s dental enamel, leading to numerous cavities. And they are generally loaded with sugar!! Consumption of soft drinks and sports drinks has reached almost epidemic levels with children in our country. If dental professionals could eliminate this one variable, the level of oral hygiene in American children would dramatically increase! The best beverages for children include fresh water and milk to prevent dehydration along with providing minerals and vitamins.
8: Fluoride is Important (and SAFE!)
As your children’s teeth develop, appropriate levels of fluoride in their water supply play a major role in protecting their teeth. This is especially true if you live in a rural area or municipality that doesn’t have fluoridated water. The Centers for Disease Control provides guidelines for how much fluoride should be in your drinking water and instructions on how to test your water. Your local health department can also be a useful rescue for water testing. After testing, if you find that your water supply contains less than the recommended levels of fluoride, your dentist or pediatrician can provide your child with fluoride supplements.
This may be in either tablet form, or as a moth rinse. If your child uses fluoridated mouth rinses, please be that they do not swallow the substances. There are many people who feel that fluoride at any level is poisonous. Decades of peer-reviewed scientific research prove that this is just not true. The American Dental Association has been at the forefront of promoting proper levels of fluoride in drinking water and provides many resources about the safety of fluoride.
9: Routine Dental Checkups
Having routine dental checkups to have a child’s teeth examined and cleaned professionally can help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. A dental hygienist can use specialized tools to remove a buildup of plaque that contains bacteria that will damage the enamel on a child’s teeth. A child should be seen by a general or pediatric dentist no later than one year of age.
10: Repair a Child’s Dental Malocclusions
While wearing orthodontic appliances will improve a child’s smile, orthodontic treatment also repairs a child’s bite. This is so that they won’t have problems talking correctly or chewing hard foods. With a better bite, your child is less likely to develop the temporomandibular joint disorder as an adult. When teeth have the proper alignment, a child is able to breathe better to avoid problems such as sinus congestion or sleep apnea. The American Association of Orthodontists recommend that your child be seen by an orthodontist no later than age 7.
Call Nease and Higginbotham Orthodontics Today
In addition to providing orthodontic services in Spartanburg, our patients can also visit our offices in Duncan and Gaffney, SC. Children can receive early orthodontic treatment with a variety of devices, including:
- Stainless steel traditional metallic braces
- Damon System braces that have doors to keep wires in instead of colored elastics
- Clear Damon System braces that are almost invisible
- Herbst appliances to reposition the lower jaw
- Clear aligner systems (such as Invisalign) which are removable for eating and brushing
If you are looking for a fantastic orthodontist in Spartanburg, S.C., then call Nease and Higginbotham Orthodontics. Our orthodontic office has two knowledgeable orthodontists available, including Dr. Eric Nease & Dr. Phil Higginbotham.
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1785 E. Main Street
Duncan, SC 29334
Phone: (864) 579-7700
Help Children Remain Cavity-free (10 AMAZING FACTS)