How Can I Prevent Tooth Decay
Your child should be brushing at least twice a day, just like you. Brushing should begin as soon as their first tooth erupts, which usually occurs around the age of 6 months. Before the eruption of the first teeth, a damp washcloth can be used to wipe the gums clean. Each time they brush, they should do so for a full 2 minutes. During this time, it is important that they get all surfaces of their teeth, fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces. Your child should be using a soft-bristled toothbrush made for children. Toothbrushes for children are smaller than those made for adults, making them easier, and more comfortable, to use. Work with young children to help them thoroughly brush their teeth. In many cases, if your child insists on brushing on their own, you may need to go back over them. Around the age of 6, your child can begin to brush on their own, but you should continue to monitor them from a distance.
Flossing should begin around the time that baby teeth begin to come together and begin touching one another. This usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 6. Before the age of 6, you will need to floss for your child. At 6, your child can begin to floss themselves with you standing by. Your child should be flossing at least once a day. Work with your child to develop proper technique, whether you show them how to use traditional floss or floss picks.
The Importance of Dental Visits
Along with oral hygiene practices at home, your child should also have their teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year. During these visits, we thoroughly clean the surfaces of the teeth, which removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria buildup. Exams also enable us to take a close look at the teeth, determining if there are any issues present. If we do find anything, we can provide prompt treatment, preventing your child from being faced with bigger issues. In addition to cleanings and exams, we can also provide extra preventative measures such as sealants and fluoride treatments.
Foods for Cavity Prevention
While dental care is important for preventing decay and cavities, the foods your child eats can play a role as well. There are plenty of foods that your child can eat that can help to fight buildup and prevent the development of tooth decay.
If you have any questions about the prevention of tooth decay or suspect that your child has decayed teeth, call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today at (503) 663-8141.