Your child's dental health today will echo into their adult years. The habits you instill in them from an early age will go a long way in preventing problems like tooth decay and cavities.
Brushing is the foundation of proper dental care. Your child should use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Replace your child's toothbrush once every three months or when the bristles become frayed. After age three, they should use no more than a pea-sized amount of kid's toothpaste that is safe to swallow. If your child is under the age of 3, you should clean their teeth yourself.
The child should hold the toothbrush at an angle, brushing slowly and carefully all along the surface of each tooth in a circular motion. They should also brush the tongue and the roof of the mouth, rinsing thoroughly at the end. It will take several minutes to brush each area thoroughly. Make sure your child brushes their teeth twice a day in the morning and the evening.
Floss can remove particles that toothbrushes can't reach. Wrap both ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers, then guide the floss between all your teeth to the gumline to remove any food residue or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, using the floss from beginning to end. Don't forget the back teeth. You can also use a plastic flosser.
Floss at night after brushing. It is normal for your gums to bleed a bit when you first start flossing, but if this problem persists, contact us.
The back teeth have grooves on their surfaces that food and bacteria get stuck in easily. When bacteria react with food, it forms acids that break down enamel and cause cavities. Studies have shown that this is the cause of 88 percent of cavities in American children.
To prevent this, we apply sealant material to the back teeth, premolars, molars, and other areas subject to cavities. The sealant material is a resin that seals these grooves, blocking food residue and bacteria from forming there. Sealants last for years but need periodic checks at regular dental appointments.
Sucking is a natural soothing reflex that babies and toddlers employ for comfort. Once their permanent front teeth come in, usually between ages 2 and 4, most children stop sucking. But if sucking continues after the eruption of permanent teeth, it can interfere with the growth of your child's mouth and misalign their teeth. Contact us if you detect prolonged or vigorous sucking.
To help your child outgrow the habit of sucking, praise them whenever they don't do it rather than scolding them when they do. If they refuse to suck during difficult times, give them extra praise. Remember that sucking is a comfort mechanism that children use to cope with stress, so focus on eliminating the cause of the stress. One last thing you could do is put a bandage on your child's thumb or a sock over their hand before putting them to bed at night.
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For more information, please contact our office at 256-712-4080, or schedule an appointment today!