Most Americans learned how to brush properly from their parents who learned from their parents. Did you know that the method that most all of us were taught growing up is not the best way to brush? The fact is that dentistry and oral hygiene are full of these small sources of misinformation. At Matthew Nawrocki DMD, MS we are convinced that we can make a difference in the oral healthcare education of not only Orange Park residents but everyone within reach.
We felt it would be beneficial to list 5 great tips to care for children’s teeth. We hope you enjoy!
1. Understand the timeline: There is variation between children in terms of dental development but here are some general guidelines. This not only will allow you to exercise the proper hygiene requirements for a child but also can provide insight into each child’s particular development.
First dental visit by first birthday. This is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. At this time, even though most teeth have not yet begun to appear in the mouth, the dentist can search for any signs of abnormality or pathology.
Toothbrushing begins at the appearance of the first tooth. This is anywhere from 6-10 months. The American Dental Association has a terrific tooth eruption chart that gives general guidelines for eruption patterns.
First experience with the Tooth Fairy is usually about 6 years of age. Some children begin this a little earlier and some a little later. The teeth are shed relatively in the order in which they appeared so if there is any significant variation from this, the dentist can help.
WIsdom teeth can appear in the mouth between ages 17-21. They appear in x-rays as early as age 12. The dentist will be helpful during this time to determine if the wisdom teeth could cause potential problems and would therefore need to be removed.
2. Proper brushing and flossing technique is essential: Here is a quick overview. Even before a child begins to show teeth, a soft wet cloth should be used to gently wipe the gums. Upon appearance of the first tooth, the teeth should be brushed twice per day. A small smear of toothpaste should be used. When children begin brushing themselves, a pea sized amount of ADA approved toothpaste should be used.
In terms of proper brushing technique, feel free to watch the following video regarding brushing.
Flossing is also an important part of oral hygiene. Feel free to visit our past dental blog entitled “Everything to Know About Flossing”.
3. Diet is Extremely Important for Oral Health: It should come as no surprise that the same foods that specialists and diet gurus claim create optimal systemic health are the foods that create a healthy mouth and teeth. We encourage you to visit our past blog entitled “The Top 5 Worst Foods and Drinks for Your Teeth”. If you have questions about diet, we are happy to discuss specifics at any time.
4. Understand Fluoride: The CDC claims that water fluoridation is one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. During development, fluoride mixes with the tooth structure and makes the teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride is in the water, air, the earth’s crust, and many of the foods and drinks that we consume. It is important to know if your water is fluoridated so you can determine if your children are obtaining optimal levels of fluoride intake.
In excessive amounts, ingested fluoride can be hazardous to children. Among other implications, teeth can have what is called fluorosis. The teeth will have permanent white spots on the visible surfaces. It takes a significant amount to create this problem. That said, it is important to keep containers of fluoridated toothpaste out of the reach of children.
5. Encourage Optimal Practices Until Adulthood: According to the ADHA, three quarters of teenagers have gums that bleed. This indicates that a significant of our young population has gingivitis. Prevention of this begins years before. Making brushing fun, creating a healthy relationship between the dentist and child early, monitoring brushing during early ages, and ensuring that your child is maintaining a healthy diet are among the ways to create these healthy habits.
We welcome questions and new patients. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an exam, feel free to contact us electronically or call us at (904)602-8396.