Decay in a child’s tooth is the result of multiple factors. In order to keep up with a good check up and remain decay free, certain techniques and routines must be implemented at home.
Brush your child’s teeth twice daily using a soft toothbrush, ADA approved. Gently vibrate the brush in your child’s mouth in a circular fashion at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Then gently vibrate the brush back and forth on each tooth surface until you have effectively cleaned the entire mouth. You should also brush your child’s tongue to remove the bacteria that cause bad breath. For those children that don’t need parent support, please follow the above recommendations.
We recommend any soft bristled, ADA approved tooth brush. We also recommend the use of modern electric tooth brushes such as Sonicare or Oral –B Braun.
Your child should brush for approximately two minutes to effectively remove plaque that has formed on their teeth. Parents should monitor their child’s brushing until they have good manual dexterity. You will determine this once your child can tie his shoe on his/her own. Your child’s hygiene and effectiveness will be evaluated at his/her examination.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important for your child to floss between their teeth every day. We know an flossing situation on an infant is very different from that of a teen.
To floss on children. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all your child’s teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of their back teeth.
Many children especially orthodontic patients are finding success in floss aids or floss threaders. Finger flossers with characters are also of much help.
Floss at night to make sure your child’s teeth are squeaky clean before going to bed. When you first begin flossing, their gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let our Pediatric Dentists know at your next appointment.
In certain cases, for older children, that have the swallowing reflex developed, daily rinsing with a fluoridated mouthrinse is indicated. We recommend ACT or SmartRinse Listerine for children. This should be done before bedtime after brushing and flossing.
No eating or drinking is recommended at least for 30 minutes after use of mouthrinse.
Diet plays an important role in the maintenance. We all know that cavities live on sugars. But little we know, that other than refined sugars, carbohydrates can also be as harmful. The main problem is not what we eat, it is the frequency. If your child eats the cookie as a dessert, at lunchtime, it will be less harmful than eating it 2 hours after lunch as a snack. The reasoning for this is that our saliva flow is higher due to mastication when you are having a meal, thus making it harder for the the sugars to stick to the surfaces of the teeth, whereas, at snacktime, the saliva flow is much lower making the attachment a lot easier.
This means that we must pick healthy snacks. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables such as baby carrots and celery, yogurt dips and mozzarella cheese sticks are some great ideas for healthy snacks. Potato chips, fruit rollups, cookies, peanut butter, gummy candies, sweetened cereals, and marshmallows are some examples of snacks that are harmful to teeth and promote cavity production. Please note that the best time to give these foods is at the end of a meal. As well, juice consumption should be limited to mealtimes only due to its high sugar content.