Prevention is KEY to help keep your child Cavity Free.
Preventive dentistry begins with the first tooth. If a tooth is present, it is capable of getting a cavity regardless of age. The primary goal of each dental visit is to help you learn about your child’s oral health and how to best care for your child’s unique needs before problems occur.
Maintaining your child’s health is your most important role. Bringing your child for their well-teeth check-up every 6 months is essential for keeping your child’s teeth healthy and allows us to partner with you to establish healthy oral hygiene routines. Together, we assess your child’s individual needs based on their home care habits, dietary intake, and any other factors that may pose them at risk for any concerns. One of our specially trained hygienists will clean your child’s teeth, provide home care instructions that are easy to follow, and educate your child on a level they can understand.
Fluoride varnish application is part of your child’s comprehensive preventive program at Fishers Pediatric Dentistry. Applying varnish fluoride after each cleaning prevents and reverses early tooth decay. It decreases sensitivity and protects existing dental work. Since the varnish fluoride is retained on the teeth for 3-6 months, you are providing long term protection for your child’s teeth. Your child may eat following the treatment but is asked not to brush for 6 hours following, allowing maximum uptake. Varnish fluoride is one more way for you to preserve your child’s smile.
Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the deep grooves of the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth. Sealants help protect them from plaque, bacteria and acids which lead to tooth decay. Sealant application is quick and easy and does not require removal of tooth structure. It is best if the sealant is applied soon after tooth eruption, before they have a chance to decay. Your child’s sealants are checked at each 6 month check-up and touched up if necessary at no additional cost to you.
Do you find yourself asking how to get your child’s teeth brushed twice a day when there are days you are chasing them down the hallway just to get dressed? For our youngest new patients, we will provide you with helpful tips on how to be successful when you attempt to brush their teeth, as well as how to kick those nurturing habits such as using a bottle at bed-time, pacifier or thumb sucking. Our team will provide you with creative ideas so that you do not have to dread those sleepless nights! As children get older, our education will shift focus and we will begin to teach each child at their own level helping them understand the importance of good dental care and healthy eating habits. It is our goal to make sure we provide education on a level that your child can understand, as well as making sure that all of your questions are answered.
Home Care Guidelines
Even though visiting our office regularly is an important factor of an effective prevention program, home care is what is essential to maintain an overall healthy mouth. Setting good habits at an early age makes all the difference!
Effective Brushing Habits
Birth to Age 1
Begin cleaning your infant’s gums with a wet washcloth or infant finger brush after feedings and at night-time. To help see in your child’s mouth, you may want to position them by laying their head in your lap. If your infant goes to sleep with a bottle, use nothing but WATER. Sugary liquids such as milk, juice, and even formula will create "cavity mode" all night long, increasing the chance for tooth decay. Follow the new guidelines regarding juice intake by The American Academy of Pediatrics, which states fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit to children under the age of ONE and should NOT be included in their daily diet.
Toddlers Ages 1-5
Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. Brush twice a day, morning and night, using a soft bristled toothbrush. Use a “smear or rice-sized” amount of fluoridated toothpaste until the age of 3, and a “pea sized” amount until the age of 5. We encourage to limit snacking between meals, and allow special treats at meal-time only, keeping juice intake to 4-6 oz a day.
This is the age when your little is becoming more independent. Although they might want to brush by themselves, we advise supervision until around the age of 8. We recommend parental brushing especially at night-time to get those hard to reach areas around the gum line and the back molars. Begin flossing as soon as teeth touch, and avoid sticky gooey treats. Encourage healthy snacking and limit sports drinks and carbonated drinks; they keep acid levels high in the mouth creating "cavity mode" and increasing the risk for tooth decay.
Pre-Teens and Teens
Our motto for this age group is: Brush the ones you want to keep! This is the stage where most baby teeth are gone and it is critical to establish and maintain good hygiene habits to keep the permanent teeth in good shape. Whether struggling with hygiene due to braces or simply lacking hygiene motivation, we will work with your child to assess their struggles and determine their individual needs.
The Role Diet Plays on Your Child’s Dental Health
The best way to prevent cavities is to fully understand how a cavity forms. It is not necessarily WHAT your child eats but HOW OFTEN they eat it. Every form of sugar, whether natural or processed, plays a role in tooth decay.
Understanding exactly how a cavity forms is extremely important when it comes to your little one’s oral health. It’s not only the plaque that forms on the teeth that can be a concern, but what and how often your child snacks throughout the day. Grazing on treats and drinks can quickly become the enemy. Immediately after brushing, a sticky, colorless layer of bacteria called plaque begins to form on teeth. This plaque will remain on a tooth until properly removed with effective brushing. Every time that your child consumes a form of sugar (whether a carbohydrate or a sugary drink), they feed this bacterial plaque, which produces an acid. This acid attack on the tooth enamel, lasting 20 minutes or more, creates ‘cavity mode’ and can lead to a breakdown of tooth enamel causing a cavity. If your child is grazing or snacking throughout the day, they are flirting with a high risk of tooth decay.
Frequency is key to help keep your child cavity free! Limit the number of snacks times throughout the day
Avoid starchy snacks, such as crackers, breads, cookies and chips which can linger in the grooves of the teeth making cavity mode last longer
Shop smart and stock your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks. Save the sugary, starchy snacks for special occasions or at meal time
Choose healthier snacks such as yogurt, cheese, peanut butter and even dark chocolate, which has antioxidant properties
Soft drinks, energy drinks, sport drinks and even juices tend to be acidic which can breakdown the enamel even faster
Don’t lick or sip – the longer it takes to lick a hard piece of candy or drink a sugary beverage, the greater the damage
Drink at one sitting or with food and drink only water to hydrate
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