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Dental Habits

Essential Steps to Prevent Tooth Decay

The Holiday season is a great time for parents to help establish and maintain dental habits.

  1. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist should be by their first Birthday or when their first tooth appears. After that, regular check-ups should occur every SIX MONTHS. During the first visit, the pediatric dentist will look inside your baby’s mouth for early signs of decay, do a gentle cleaning, and talk to you about how to keep your baby’s teeth healthy and what to expect in the months/years to come. Our goal is to help you establish healthy routines from the start to help prevent cavities. 
  2. Parents should help their children brush their teeth TWICE DAILY — after breakfast and before bedtime are ideal, with the nighttime routine being most important. Cavities often form when sugar remain on the teeth, especially during sleep which can extend 8-12 hours for young children. It is recommended that parents/caregivers supervise the brushing for school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age. It is easy to reference dexterity by the child’s ability to tie their own shoes, clean their own ears, cut fingernails etc. When children need assistance with these tasks, brushing teeth should remain parents’ responsibility to help prevent cavities. If you are finding that your child requires parental guidance after 8 years of age, encourage them by letting them play his or her preferred music, let them choose their preferred brand or flavor toothpaste/mouthwash/dental floss, or download an oral hygiene-related app to help guide them when you’re not available.
  3. Having the right toothbrush for your child is important. The best toothbrushes for children have soft, round-ended (polished) bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums. The handle should not be too big and should fit proportionately to the size of the child’s hand. Manual or electric toothbrushes can both be effective, however, electric toothbrushes have a timer and in some instances help them reach more areas of their mouth with less effort.
  4. Parents can begin flossing for their children when two teeth are touching. Children can typically begin flossing on their own when they can tie their shoes.
  5. Use fluoride toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride hinders the breakdown of enamel and helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

 

While we all do our best to maintain a beautiful healthy smile, lets not forget the importance of regular teeth cleanings. To schedule an appointment, please call our office (401)-828-1171.

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