Care for Your Child’s Teeth

Pediatric oral care involves two important aspects: preventive care at the pediatric dentist's office and preventive care at home. Despite the rising prevalence of cavities and tooth decay in infants and toddlers, a good dental strategy can eliminate the risk of these problems.

The aim of preventive oral care is to assess and maintain the child's dental health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children should start visiting the pediatric dentist for "well baby" checkups around twelve months of age. In general, most children should continue to see the dentist every six months unless advised otherwise.

How can a pediatric dentist care for my child’s teeth?

The pediatric dentist examines the teeth, monitors development, and provides guidance to parents. They use tools like fluoride and sealants to reduce the risk of dental problems. During a visit, the child's mouth is examined, teeth are cleaned, and fluoride may be applied. The dentist teaches oral care techniques, advises on diet, and addresses concerns. Dental sealants are applied to molars to prevent decay. They last for varying periods depending on oral habits and are crucial in fighting tooth decay.

How can I help at home?

Caring for a child's teeth at home is crucial for maintaining their oral health. Here are some key practices to follow:

  1. Start cleaning even before teeth emerge: Use a clean, damp cloth or gauze pad to gently wipe your baby's gums after each feeding to remove bacteria.

  2. Introduce brushing: Once the first tooth appears, start brushing using an appropriate-sized toothbrush designed for children. Use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste for children under two and a pea-sized amount for older children. Brush their teeth twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime.

  3. Supervise brushing: Until around the age of seven, children may require supervision and assistance with brushing to ensure they do a thorough job.

  4. Teach proper technique: Show your child how to brush their teeth using small circular motions, cleaning all surfaces of the teeth and gums. Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste but not rinse their mouth with water immediately after brushing.

  5. Promote a healthy diet: Limit sugary snacks and drinks, as they contribute to tooth decay. Encourage a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods.

  6. Encourage drinking water: Water helps rinse the mouth and keeps teeth clean. Encourage your child to drink water after meals and throughout the day.

  7. Limit bottle use and pacifier habits: Avoid allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle filled with sugary liquids, and discourage prolonged pacifier use to prevent dental problems.

  8. Regular dental check-ups: Schedule regular visits to the pediatric dentist for check-ups and professional cleanings. These visits help identify any dental issues early on and provide appropriate guidance for oral care.

If you have questions or concerns about how to care for your child’s teeth, please ask your pediatric dentist.

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