Dentistry for Kids
Oral hygiene plays a vital role in your child’s overall health. Poor care of teeth and gums can lead to further complications later in life, so it is important to bring your children to Lincoln Smiles early and often for exams and cleanings as well as to learn proper mouth care practices.
Why Should I Bring My Kids to the Dentist?
While many parents assume that because baby teeth will be lost anyway, cavities at that stage don’t matter. On the contrary, dental decay in baby teeth can lead to further dental problems down the road and may affect permanent teeth negatively. Also, if baby teeth fall out prematurely or need to be extracted before they are ready to fall out, their permanent replacements may shift to fill the space.
Your child’s first dental visit should occur within 6 months of his or her first tooth, or by age one at the latest, and then at least every 6 months thereafter.
What Should My Child and I Expect?
During your child’s visit, we will examine inside the mouth in search of cavities, oral injuries, or other problems, and determine if he or she is at risk for tooth decay. We will most definitely do an x-ray to evaluate things like erupting teeth, orthodontic needs, and the jaw and surrounding bones. Your child’s teeth will be cleaned, we will discuss any treatment that may be needed, and we will provide tips on good oral hygiene habits.
We may coat your child’s back teeth with a tooth-colored sealant if we believe there is a high risk of cavities. We may also recommend fluoride varnish, which is brushed on the tops and sides of the teeth, for extra cavity protection.
How Can I Teach My Kids Good Oral Hygiene?
It can sometimes be difficult to get kids into any routine, including caring for their mouth. Luckily, there are things you can do as the parent to entice them. Allowing your child to choose his or her own toothbrush and toothpaste, for example, may make it more fun. You can also watch episodes of TV shows and read books in which your kid’s favorite characters set good examples around oral hygiene, and then reference those characters when it’s time to brush. Other fun ideas are to set a timer for 2 minutes and then have a mini dance party to his or her favorite song, or make up a short story with cool characters and different voices. Regardless of the method you use to get your kids to brush their teeth, the point is that they do it and do it well.
From birth, you should clean your baby’s gums using water and a soft cloth. When teeth start pushing through and up until the age of 2, brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and just a bit of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. From about 2-5 years of age, increase the amount of toothpaste to about the size of a pea. Teach your child early on to not swallow the toothpaste.
You as the parent should brush your kid’s teeth until they are old enough and able to brush thoroughly on their own. Children tend to brush just the front of the teeth, so be sure to instruct them to brush the top, bottom, front, and back of each tooth.
Flossing should begin as soon as any two teeth touch and should be done for your child until he or she can do it alone.
Your child’s diet is an important factor in tooth development and oral health. Too much sugar can cause cavities so limit things like juice, chocolate milk, cookies, and candy.
Detecting and treating any problems early on can save you money and reduce pain and discomfort from dental problems for your child down the road. Call Lincoln Smiles at 916-543-8800 today to schedule your child’s appointment.