BEING A PARENT can be incredibly hectic. It can be hard to keep track of all the things growing kids need, which is why we’re giving our patients a list of five simple tips for staying on top of their children’s dental health — and their own!
Tip #1: Know What to Expect from Whitening Toothpastes
We all love having pearly white teeth, parents included, but it’s important to know how whitening toothpastes work so that we can manage our expectations. These toothpastes contain polishing agents and mild abrasives to remove surface stains, but they won’t affect deeper stains. Those require more thorough whitening treatments like bleaching or microabrasion.
Tip #2: Teens and Pediatric Dentistry
When you hear the term “pediatric dentist,” you might think that means kids only, but we’re still the best type of dentist to take care of a growing teenager’s teeth. Caring for an adolescent’s oral health is part of our specialized training. Your child’s face and jaws will experience a tremendous amount of growth and change in these years, and their last few permanent teeth will be coming in. It’s an incredibly important period, which requires the attention of a specialist.
Tip #3: Looking for Teeth-Friendly Snacks? Try Cheese.
Recent research shows that one of the healthiest snacks your child can eat, particularly where their teeth are concerned, is cheese! On top of being a great source of calcium (which remineralizes tooth enamel), it also works to fight cavities by stimulating the salivary glands, which then help clear the mouth of debris and neutralize harmful acids.
Tip #4: Seal the Deal for Healthy Teeth with Sealants
A great way to protect a child’s teeth from tooth decay is sealants. Sealants are a clear plastic material painted over the deep pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth to block out bacteria and prevent decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends sealants, particularly for children with a history of tooth decay.
Tip #5: Brush Up on Brushing
The easiest and most important method of cavity prevention is brushing your teeth, but finding the right toothbrush can be tricky. Whether you get your child a manual or electric toothbrush, it will be an essential tool in keeping their teeth healthy.
We recommend that you look for a toothbrush with soft, round-ended (polished) bristles. These will clean effectively while being gentle on the gums. Look for a brush designed for small hands and mouths, and don’t forget to replace it every three months or so. Worn out brushes aren’t as effective!
Your child will need help brushing until they’re about 7 to 8 years old, so be sure to work with them and supervise their brushing when they begin doing it themselves so that they learn good techniques to get every tooth surface clean.
Bonus Tip: Your Best Resource Is the Dentist
Any questions you have about caring for your child’s teeth or helping them learn how to do it themselves are questions we are happy to answer. We look forward to seeing your child twice a year for their cleaning appointments. It’s an important step on the road to having healthy teeth for life!