Our Philosophy At Dentistry for Children is to Focus On Prevention.
We want to be a partner in our patients’ oral health care needs and strive to do all that we can to provide routine care before any issues arise.
Important oral healthcare practices begin early (information below) and those practices need to be kept up with at home. We recommend regular brushing, a healthy diet, and routine hygiene checks every six months to help avoid larger issues in the mouth. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it is recommended to brush twice a day for two minutes.
How Can You Prevent Cavities?
Did you know that tooth decay is the the most common long-term childhood disease? There are many factors that influence your child’s susceptibility to decay. Your child may have softer enamel or reduced saliva quantity or quality. There may even be a family history of susceptibility/genetic component to tooth decay. However, despite your child’s susceptibility, tooth decay is entirely preventable. When we consider cavity prevention, we focus on what we can control which is hygiene and diet. Both are essential to staying cavity free. Learn more by reviewing our Cavities handout.
Effective brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is essential and helps control the plaque/bacterial component of tooth decay. Effective is the key word. We encourage parents to help with brushing until a child is 9-10 years old or able to demonstrate consistent, effective brushing and flossing habits. Once a child is able to show proper oral hygiene habits (most children are able to accomplish this by ages 6-7 years old), we encourage close supervision of the hygiene routine by the parents and always assist with the final brushing.
See our brushing video below for guidance on creating a brushing routine and system that works for you and your child.
A Healthy Mouth Begins At Birth
Establishing an oral care routine right away prevents decay and helps your child more easily accept help with brushing once the first tooth appears. Be persistent. It is much easier to put time and effort into preventive care than it is to address dental issues later.
Germs that cause tooth decay are often present even before teeth begin to appear. After each feeding – right from birth – wipe the inside of the baby’s mouth, including the tongue and gums, with a clean soft cloth to remove leftover breast milk or formula.
Begin to brush at least twice daily. The easiest, most effective way to brush is with your baby lying down. Apply a rice-sized amount of toothpaste to an age-appropriate soft-bristled toothbrush. Lift baby’s lips to better see, angle the toothbrush toward the gums and move the brush in a circular motion along the gum line.
Pediatricians recommend breast/bottle feeding exclusively for the first six months. Once teeth begin to appear, frequent or prolonged breast/bottle feeding and snacking should be avoided as cavity-causing bacteria feed on sugars and starches. Baby should never be put to bed with a bottle. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no juice until one year of age, and even then juice is not a necessary or desirable part of a healthy diet for children and ideally should be avoided all together.
Whole, natural foods — filled with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals — help your child grow smart, strong, tall and beautiful. But they support healthy teeth and gums too. Encourage your kids to choose the good stuff!
Because parents generally get good nutrition into kids at mealtimes, changing up snack options offers the most potential for positive impact.
Good Snack Stuff
WHOLE, NATURAL FOODS
- High protein foods, like cheeses, nuts and yogurt
- Fresh fruits and veggies, filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals
- Peanut butter, hummus and ranch dressing if needed to encourage healthy snack choices
Bad Snack Stuff
SUGARS AND ACIDS THAT BREAK DOWN TEETH
- Fruit snacks/roll-ups and pureed fruits, which are often stripped of the fiber that cleans teeth
- Treats, like candy bars that are filled with refined Sugars
- Processed carbohydrates, like chips and crackers, which the body converts to sugar
- Juices, which are high in sugar
- Sport drinks and sugar-free waters, which are often flavored with acidic ingredients
Moderation And Balance
- Reserve sugary and acidic treats for special occasions rather than keeping them in the house
- Remind kids to brush immediately after they have indulged in a special treat