Dr. D’s Smiles
8715 Stonewall Road
Keep That Smile Bright: Prevention Is Key
Brushing and flossing
your child’s teeth
As soon as your child has a tooth begin to use a smear (size of a grain of rice) of toothpaste. Clean the teeth at least twice a day. It’s best to clean them right after breakfast and before bedtime.
Once your child turns three you can begin to use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. As your child gets older let him/her use their own toothbrush. Until children are seven or eight years old, you will need to help them brush, it can be a challenge but it is always fun to make them do it first and then you “finish” the process.
Fluoride is always beneficial. It is found in many foods, and it also is added to the drinking water in most cities and towns. It’s proven that it strengthens the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks that can cause tooth decay. It also reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid.
Check with your local water utility agency to find out if your water has fluoride in it. If it doesn’t, ask your doctor if you should get a prescription for fluoride drops or chewable tablets for your child.
Try to choose as much as possible foods and drinks that do not have high content of sugar in them. Give your child fruits and vegetables instead of candy and cookies. Get them used to brushing right after they get a piece of candy or sugary drinks, if possible.
“Baby bottle decay”
Putting your baby to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula or other sugary drinks leads to a high chance of “baby bottle decay”. It is recommended to just put water in it to lower the risk of decay. If your baby is a pacifier user, it is not a good idea to dip it in anything sweet. By the age of one or a little later, your child should be able to drink from a cup instead of a bottle.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting dental visits at the age of 12 months or within six months of the first tooth’s emergence.
We don’t expect a lot of cooperation but at least the child starts getting to know the environment, we develop some rapport, plan discussions with parents about diet, brushing, habits and everything mentioned above. At this first visit, your dentist can determine the frequency of future dental checkups that in the majority of the cases are every six months.