When your child has a few teeth, you can begin using toothpaste on the toothbrush during their daily dental hygiene routine. Begin by only using a small amount of toothpaste, especially for young children under the age of two. For these children, it’s recommended to use toothpaste without fluoride, as too much fluoride can be harmful. It’s also important to encourage your child to rinse and spit out the toothpaste after brushing, as swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause teeth to become discolored. As your child grows and becomes more independent, they will eventually be ready to take on the responsibility of brushing their teeth on their own, usually around the age of six or seven. In the meantime, we encourage parents to continue brushing their teeth for them until they can do so effectively.
Cavities are caused by bacteria that naturally live in the mouth. When these bacteria come into contact with sugar from food that is left on the teeth, they produce acid. The acid attacks the enamel on the surface of the teeth, causing holes or cavities to form. The practice of good oral hygiene and the limit of sugary foods can help prevent the development of cavities.
To help protect your child’s teeth and keep them healthy, establish a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing daily to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth. Our team may also recommend a fluoride supplement to strengthen the enamel and make it more resistant to decay. It’s also important to limit sugary foods and drinks, snack less frequently, and maintain a healthy diet. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are also crucial for monitoring the health of your child’s teeth and providing necessary treatment.
Sealants are a protective coating that can be applied to the teeth to help prevent the development of cavities, particularly in the molars which are harder to reach when brushing. Sealants cover the pits and fissures on the surface of the teeth, which are more prone to collecting plaque and can be difficult to clean thoroughly. They provide an extra layer of protection against decay and are a safe and effective way to help your child maintain good oral health. With that being said, we recommend this extra layer of protection to help keep your child’s mouth healthy and shining!
For children who are active in sports, it’s recommended to use a mouthguard to protect the teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from injury. Mouthguards can be especially important in sports that involve contact or collisions. If your child plays sports such as baseball or soccer, it may be a good idea to consider having a custom-fitted mouthguard made to provide the best possible protection. Our office can provide more information on mouthguard options and assist with the fitting process.
It’s common for young children to have a sucking habit, such as thumb sucking or finger sucking, which usually subsides on its own by the age of four. In most cases, this habit does not cause any permanent damage to the teeth. However, if your child continues to suck their thumb or fingers aggressively after their permanent teeth have come in, let us know and schedule an appointment to assess whether the habit may be causing any dental problems. Early intervention can help prevent any potential issues from worsening.
Dental X-rays may be recommended for children around the age of two or three. The first set of X-rays typically includes simple images of the front upper and lower teeth to help familiarize your child with the process. Once the back teeth in the mouth are touching each other, we generally recommend having regular X-rays taken at least once a year. These X-rays can help us monitor the health of your child’s teeth and jaw and ensure that their teeth are properly aligned as they begin to emerge. If your child is at higher risk for dental problems, it may be necessary to have X-rays taken at an earlier age.