Basic Dental Care for School-Aged Children
If your child is ready for kindergarten (or even a bit younger, depending on the child), she’s ready to start taking care of her teeth herself.
Your baby or toddler will need your help in brushing and flossing teeth, but older children should start to perform these good oral hygiene practices themselves as they reach school age.
You may still need to start or finish the cleaning process for children younger than 7 or 8, but you should definitely start letting the child do most of the work (you can supervise).
- To get your child started right, make sure she uses a child’s toothbrush that has soft bristles. Set a schedule so that she’ll brush twice a day. If necessary, brush your own teeth as your child brushes hers (it can become something she does with Mom or Dad).
Helping your child handle basic oral care such as brushing his teeth twice a day will instill a habit in him that will help keep his teeth healthy throughout his life.
- Use toothpaste that contains ADA-approved fluoride.
- Make sure the child flosses at least once a day. If your child can’t maneuver a string of floss, purchase floss sticks.
- As the child brushes her teeth, make sure she first brushes the inside of her teeth (plaque may accumulate most here), then the outer surfaces, the chewing surface, and, using the tip of the brush, clean behind the front teeth on the top and bottom of her mouth. End with a gentle brushing of the child’s tongue.
Basic dental care for your child also means you should be sure to provide her with healthy food. You also should limit sugary desserts and snacks between meals. Provide candy, cookies and cakes as treats for special occasions, not as regular after-lunch or after-dinner options.
Be sure to take your child to a Plano dentist twice a year for checkups and teeth cleaning. You also should ask your dentist about dental sealants, which are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surface of your child’s permanent back teeth (where most cavities occur). Sealants create a barrier to tooth decay. The application process to your child’s teeth is painless.
In an interesting side note regarding children and teeth, YahooNews.com reported in July about an Indian teen who had 232 teeth surgically removed from his mouth (that is no typo: 232 teeth). The 17-year-old suffered from a condition known as complex odontoma, a benign tumor affects the jaw or gums. The greatest amount of teeth previously removed from an individual was 37; the removal of the “toothlets” from the Indian teen could be a world record.
The teen’s jaw stayed intact during the procedure and he’s expected to make a full recovery and without any deformity.
For more help in instilling good oral hygiene habits in your children, contact Plano dentist Dr. Darren Dickson for an appointment by phone or via our online contact form.
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