Dentist near Winston-Salem explains how to care for your kids’ teeth
As an adult, you know how to properly take care of your teeth with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits, but when it comes to your kids, it can be difficult to know what is actually necessary to take care of their teeth. After all, babies don’t even have teeth and then kids lose their baby teeth! Below, Dr. Sona Isharani, dentist near Winston-Salem, NC, explains how to properly care for your kids’ teeth and when they should be seen by a dentist.
Caring for your child’s teeth at home
Even though kids will eventually lose their baby teeth, it is important to take good care of them because they play many important roles in your child’s development. They help your child learn to say speech sounds correct, chew and digest foods properly, and smile with confidence. Baby teeth also save space in your child’s mouth for their adult teeth, so they have ample room to come in when it is time.
Dental hygiene should begin from the time your child’s first teeth erupt. You can start by using a soft children’s toothbrush and gently brushing with water or a very small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste two times per day. As your child becomes old enough to learn how to spit out toothpaste, you can begin using a small amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride. Kids typically need their parents’ help brushing their teeth until they reach the age ofeight or nine, when they can begin to properly brush their teeth on their own for two full minutes at a time.
Children also need to floss every day. Since using string dental floss can be tricky for small hands, interdental flossers that you buy in packages can make this task easier for your child.
Another important part of keeping your child’s teeth healthy on a regular basis is protecting them during sports or other activities where their teeth could become damaged. Dr. Isharani can consult with you about the best mouthguard options for your child.
The role of diet in oral health
A healthy diet doesn’t just provide important nutrients to help your child develop properly – it is also essential for healthy teeth. Kids aren’t the only ones who love sugar – bacteria do too! It has been shown that kids who consume a lot of sugary drinks or foods, or even just a lot of starchy foods, are at higher risk for cavities because the starches and sugars provide bacteria ample food to flourish on the surfaces of your child’s teeth, causing cavities and gum disease.
By limiting your child’s consumption of juice, soda, candies, and sweets and instead providing healthy choices such as apples and carrots, it will help keep their teeth healthier in the long run. Sugar-free chewing gum is actually a good choice for dental health, as it helps promote saliva production, clean debris off your child’s teeth, and balance out the acids on teeth that can cause decay.
When to take your child to the dentist
We recommend that you first take your child to the dentist by age one. While this may seem early, it helps you establish care with a dentist you trust, provides you with answers to any questions that you have, and helps your child become acclimated to sitting in the dental chair from an early age so they feel comfortable and safe at the dentist’s office. Regular check-ups every six months will help ensure that your child’s mouth is healthy and free from decay or disease, and professional cleanings will keep your child’s smile bright and sparkling.
Sometimes, your child may exhibit symptoms that indicate that they need to be seen by a dentist between check-ups. These include, among others:
- Pain in their teeth or gums
- Abscesses or infections
- Injury to a tooth, such as a chip or crack
- Loss of a permanent tooth
Schedule your child’s check-up today!
Whether your child is a new patient in the Winston-Salem area or has been seeing Dr. Isharani for years, we encourage you to call our Greensboro office today at (336) 804-8668 to schedule a check-up. With regular dental care, you can keep your child’s smile healthy and help them form good dental habits for their lifetime. We love welcoming new children to our dental family and take true joy in seeing our patients smile!