A Healthy Smile for You and Your Family
Children should have their first checkup by the age of 4
Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens teeth and protects them from decay. It is found in many types of toothpaste and in prescribed supplements. In communities that have optimal amounts of fluoride in the drinking water, children do not need a fluoride supplement.
Flossing is important to remove plaque from between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. At about 10 or 11 your child should be able to clean between the teeth with floss or another inter-dental cleaner under your supervision.
Sealants are a plastic material that the dentist applies to the chewing surface of your child’s back teeth. Sealants form a barrier that protects teeth from plaque and acid attacks and hold up well under the force of chewing. These sealants are checked and maintained at your child’s regular six-month visits.
Diet and Your Child Teeth
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. When combined with sugar from food and drinks, plaque bacteria produce acids that attack tooth enamel. Repeated acid attacks can break down enamel and eventually result in tooth decay. Frequent snacks in between meals expose teeth to repeated acid attacks. For good dental and overall health, be sure your child eats a balanced diet with foods from the major food groups. Be mindful of the effects of frequent consumption of sugary beverages including juices, sodas, and sports drinks and non-nutritious snack foods. If your child needs a between-meal snack, choose nutritious foods and save sweets for mealtime.
Keeping that Smile Clean
Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Specific hygiene recommendations vary by the child's age: For children under the age of 2, brush teeth with water, or safe fluoride free toothpaste. Always be sure to not let them swallow the toothpaste, fluoride or not.
- For children over age two, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is all a child needs. Be sure your child spits out and does not swallow the toothpaste.
- By age seven, children may be able to brush their own teeth, but may require supervision until about age 10 or 11.
- Choose a child-size toothbrush for ease of use and replace it every 3-4 months or when the bristles become worn