Let’s TALK about TEETH!
Since February is Children’s dental health month we thought we’d share a few tips on how to make sure your little ones keep their teeth healthy and strong!
The Basics – Brushing two times a day for two minutes is one of the most important ways to keep teeth free of plaque. Brushing after breakfast is recommended because most children’s breakfast foods contain sugar. Brushing at night is crucial to keeping teeth cavity-free and it should never be skipped! Most children cannot brush effectively on their own – a grown up should help them brush their teeth! Flossing should be introduced if there is no spacing between your child’s teeth. Limiting consumption of processed carbohydrates as well as sugar-based snacks and drinks will decrease their risk of getting cavities as well. A few healthy snack options include cheese, yogurt, fruits and popcorn.
Dental Mythbusters: Fact vs. Fiction
Myth: Children should not use fluoridated toothpaste.
Fact: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends using a fluoride containing toothpaste for children of all ages. For a child under the age of three, a smear of toothpaste equivalent to a grain of rice should be used. For a child 3 – 6 years of age, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is recommended.
Myth: Babies are too young to get cavities.
Fact: If a child has teeth, they can get cavities! For babies, it is important not to put them to sleep with a bottle of milk as this increase their risk of getting cavities.
Myth: All kids start losing their baby teeth at six years old.
Fact: Yes, on average children begin to lose teeth at six years old. However, it’s completely normal that a child may lose a tooth as early as four years old or as late as eight years old!
Myth: Cavities in baby teeth don’t have to be fixed.
Fact: This is one of the biggest misconceptions! While children begin to lose their front baby teeth at six years old, in most cases they keep their baby molars until 12 years old. Untreated cavities in baby teeth can lead to pain, severe infections and may affect the adult teeth that are developing underneath the baby teeth.
Myth: Children should see a dentist when they start getting adult teeth.
Fact: The American Dental Association as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child see a pediatric dentist by their first birthday! The goal of an early visit to the dentist is to educate parents on best dental health practices for their child and it helps establish a dental home for your child for their future dental needs.
A note about the author: Dr. Mouli is a board certified pediatric dentist. Her office, Pediatric Dentistry of Union is located at 381 Chestnut Street, Union, NJ 07083.