What Are the Most Common
Dental Care Needs for Children?
If you have children in your family, you’re undoubtedly aware of the many reasons it’s important to schedule regular dental care appointments with your dentist. Children, as well as adults, can suffer from cavities and gum disease, but these problems can be even more damaging to their permanent teeth than they are to ours.
Fortunately, we live in an age where we have better treatment options than ever before to keep our children’s smiles healthy from the earliest ages possible! Here are the most common questions about dental care for children and what you can do to help them maintain healthy smiles.
Why should parents take their child to a dentist
The bacteria in plaque convert sugars in food into acids, which weaken tooth enamel and cause cavities. Left untreated, cavities can spread through enamel and destroy a tooth. If you take your child to a dentist when they are just starting to develop teeth, they can make sure that they understand how to keep their pearly whites clean and healthy.
How often do I have to brush my child’s teeth
It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter how old your child is—from first teething and up, everyone should be brushing their teeth twice a day. For younger kids who can’t brush their own teeth yet, make sure you supervise them with your toothbrush until they learn how.
At that point, you can give them one of their own so they can start developing good habits at an early age. It’s very important to teach your kids proper brushing habits because if they don’t get into good practices as children, they could develop issues as adults that will require more expensive treatment down the road.
Is flossing important for children?
Yes, flossing is very important! It’s a great way to prevent cavities and gum disease. In fact, since plaque hardens into tartar easily on young teeth and gums, it’s particularly important that you brush and floss every day to make sure that your child keeps their smile bright and healthy.
In addition to brushing twice a day (morning and night), try using fluoride toothpaste designed for kids at least twice a day as well. If you’re worried about flossing being too much work, look for floss-friendly toothbrushes that have small spaces between bristles; kids tend to enjoy these toothbrushes more than traditional ones.
How important is regular dental checkups
It is recommended that regular checkups and professional cleanings to kids at least once every six months. We also encourage parents to set an example by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice daily, using a fluoridated mouthwash daily and visiting your dentist twice annually.
However, it's important to remember that these standards are guidelines that are designed to give you some guidance, not legal requirements. Check in with your dentist on his or her recommendations because he or she will know more about what your child's oral health looks like than you do. If you have any reason at all to believe your child may have a problem—or if you're just particularly concerned—then be sure to ask for an appointment sooner rather than later.
Are there any other things I can do at home to keep my child’s teeth healthy?
Of course! Here are a few things you can do to help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy, regardless of whether or not they see a dentist: avoid sugary snacks, limit refined carbs (ex. pasta, white bread), choose whole grains, drink water instead of soda/juice/sports drinks—these things all make a big difference in keeping teeth strong and cavity-free. Keep making regular appointments with our clinic is also important—but there’s no need to wait until your child is grown; caring for your child’s oral health now will have lasting benefits into adulthood.
My older kid has braces. Is that normal now?
In some areas, you’ll be hard-pressed to find kids who don’t wear braces. It may not be normal, but it is popular. Just keep in mind that braces could cost a lot of money and add time onto your kid’s overall orthodontic treatment plan (therefore taking more time out of their lives). Many orthodontists use clear aligners to treat mild cases with better results and in less time than traditional metal braces. Clear aligners such as Invisalign are also a good choice for adult patients who aren’t yet ready to commit to metal braces or can’t due to gum recession or bone loss, because they can be removed at any time during treatment without causing damage to gums or teeth.
Can I use mouthwash on my kids if it says for adults only on the label?
Mouthwash that is approved by a dentist to be used on children can be used with caution. However, even if it doesn’t have specific approval from a dentist, many mouthwashes and toothpastes designed for adults can be used in moderation on kids.
For younger kids who don’t have teeth yet, brushing teeth as usual and then rinsing their mouths with water (without adding anything) is an option that should be considered safe if done once or twice per day.