This post was written by our Clovis, NM Community Relations Coordinator, Nellie Aragon!
Going to the dentist is sometimes intimidating and scary for children, but taking them to their regular checkups will ensure a healthy smile and mouth, making dental visits easier in the long run. Avoiding the dentist can result in serious decay and chronic health problems. If decaying teeth are ignored for too long before a dental visit, then your child may associate going to the dentist with pain. This fear and worry is easily preventable with regular care and a quality hygiene routine.
Helping your child to brush and floss two times a day will help keep the cavities away, as will using a fluoride toothpaste… once your child reaches age two. Brushing once in the morning and once before bed with a soft toothbrush for 2 minutes is recommended.
Play a song while brushing teeth; make it fun!
Brush with light pressure in small circles, on all surfaces of the teeth, as well as on the gums. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too!
Around age six, permanent molars start to erupt. Most dentists recommend that children get sealants on these molars to prevent cavities. Sealants are simply a protective cover which covers the deep ridges, nooks and crannies in molars – easy hiding places for bacteria and decay.
Another important part of maintaining a healthy mouth is maintaining a healthy diet. Eating starchy and sugary junk foods and drinks create acids and breed bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria and acids attack tooth enamel and can lead to enamel erosion, gingivitis (gum disease) and cavities. Snacking or leaving food/sugar on teeth for more than 15 minutes leads to decay. Bacteria begin attacking and acids start eroding teeth after 20 minutes, if the mouth is not rinsed with water.
The best way to encourage children to choose a healthy diet and lifestyle is to snack healthy together!
Sit down at the table or counter and write a list of fruits and vegetables together before going to the grocery store. After purchase, wash the fruits and vegetables and separate them into snack bags or containers; put them on a low shelf in the fridge to make them easily accessible for children.
Once baby teeth start to fall out, around six to eight years, it is a good idea to plan on scheduling your child for an orthodontic consultation to address concerns about crooked adult teeth. Most children should get an orthodontic consultation by age ten.
At Familia Dental, we offer FREE orthodontic consultations to everyone – kids and adults!