How Can I help my children care for their teeth and avoid cavities?
Parents should begin teaching their child to care for their teeth at a young age. First thing you can do is lead by example; taking good care of your own teeth sends a message that good oral health is something to be valued. Things that make take care of teeth fun, like brushing with your child, allowing them to choose their own toothbrush, encourages good oral care.
To help your children protect their teeth and gums for life teach them to follow these steps:
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque (the sticky film on teeth which is the main cause of tooth decay)
- Floss daily (starting at age 4) to remove plaque from between your teeth and under the gumline before it has a chance to harden into tartar. Once it has a chance to harden it can only be removed by a professional cleaning.
- Eat a well-balanced diet low in starchy or sugary foods. When you do eat these foods try to eat them with a meal and not as a snack.
- Use dental products that contain fluoride.
- Make sure the water your child drinks is fluoridated, if your water supply does not contain fluoride, your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe supplements containing fluoride.
- Bring your child to the dentist for regular checkups.
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant creates an effective barrier against decay. Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surface of the back molars. Applying a sealant is not painful and is complete in one visit. Talk to your dentist about the benefits of sealants and if your child is ready to have them done.
What should you do if your child has an injury to their teeth?
With all injuries to your child’s mouth, contact your dentist immediately. If your child has pain associated with a broken, chipped or cracked tooth you may want to give an over the counter pain reliever to your child until you can see your dentist. If your child has knocked out a tooth store the tooth in water or milk until you can get to a dentist.
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