Guide to Helping With Your Child’s Oral Health

As a parent, we understand that your child’s oral heath is the extremely important. However, helping them brush, floss and develop a beautiful, healthy smile is difficult even if you know everything you’re supposed to do.

Rhodes and Slager Family Dental Care is committed to educating parents and children alike, and as such, we’re here to teach you about the ins and outs of oral health for children. Here are some things to think about as you help to prevent your child from having a lifetime of tooth decay and pain.

How Can Your Child Prevent Cavities?

Keeping their teeth and gums clean of plaque and bacteria will drastically reduce the instance of cavities. Also, if you teach your child about proper brushing and flossing techniques, he or she may be better equipped to avoid cavities both now and in the future.

Brushing and flossing aren’t the only things that prevent cavities. Also pay attention to:

  • Lifestyle
  • Diet
  • Home oral hygiene
  • Fluoride- either in drinking water, toothpaste, or mouthwash
  • The use of toothpaste
  • Genetics & family history

If cavities aren’t treated, teeth will decay rapidly. Or, cavities could cause nerve damage to a tooth, leading to an infection at the root tip that may require surgery or tooth extraction.

Ultimately, there are many ways to ensure your child can avoid cavities, such as:

  • Brush the teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to eliminate plaque from between the teeth and under the gums.
  • Limit the intake of starchy and sugary foods, i.e. foods that may cause plaque acids that can lead to tooth decay.

Teach your child about the importance of oral health at a young age – you’ll be glad you did. By doing so, your son or daughter will be able to learn about proper brushing and flossing techniques and minimize the risk of cavities.

Are There Specific Brushing Techniques That Your Child Should Use?

For children, getting the hang of brushing the teeth may seem impossible at times. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can use to help your child become accustomed to brushing his or her teeth:

  1. Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  2. Brush the inside and outside of the child’s teeth, and move the toothbrush gently back and forth across the teeth.
  3. Place the toothbrush at an angle and move it back and forth along the child’s outer gumline.
  4. Brush back and forth along the tooth’s chewing surface.
  5. Using the tip of the toothbrush, clean behind each tooth and on the top and bottom of the tooth.
  6. Brush the tongue softly.

Spend some time teaching your child about proper brushing techniques. You also can use this opportunity to educate your child about the importance of oral health practices and bond with your child simultaneously.

When Should Your Child Begin to Floss?

Flossing the teeth will help your child protect the gums. The American Dental Association recommends flossing teeth daily, and doing so helps reduce the risk of gum disease, cavities and other oral health issues.  Also, new studies are linking flossing to an increase in life-expectancy, with some showing a 6-year increase for people who floss regularly.

Many parents begin flossing their children’s teeth at the age of 4. Flossing will allow you to eliminate food particles and plaque between your child’s teeth that brushing misses, ensuring you can keep his or her teeth looking great.

Furthermore, many children are able to floss on their own by the age of 8. And if you teach your child about flossing now, he or she should have no trouble transitioning to flossing on their own.

How Can Diet Impact Your Child’s Oral Health?

A balanced diet is essential for a child to maintain strong, healthy teeth. In fact, a diet that features foods rich in vitamins and minerals will support your child’s growth and development and oral health.

In addition, a diet should feature the proper amount of fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral that is found in many foods and beverages. Fluoride makes the outer surface of the teeth (enamel) more resistant to acid attacks and has been shown to help individuals combat cavities. Your pediatric dentist can provide you with full details about fluoride and how much fluoride your child should have in his or her diet.

It also is important to note that frequent snacking can affect your child’s oral health. Cookies, dried fruits, potato chips and other sugary and starchy foods can combine with plaque to create acids that attack tooth enamel. As a result, frequent snacking may lead to cavities and other oral health problems.

Lastly, if you ever have oral health concerns or questions, feel free to contact Rhodes and Slager Family Dental Care– we love working with children and are happy to assist you in any way we can.

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