Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, so it’s important to teach your child early about the importance of maintaining good oral health, especially during candy-focused holidays like Halloween, the winter holidays, Valentine’s Day and Easter. Not only does untreated tooth decay cause pain, it may also lead to infections that affect eating, speaking, and overall wellbeing. Fortunately, tooth decay and other oral diseases are preventable. Hatch Dental in Blackfoot is a general family dentist who is happy to answer questions about all your dental needs.
• Bring your child to his or her dentist for regular checkups.
• Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride.
• Talk to your dentist about dental sealants. Sealants protect teeth from decay and have the potential to nearly eliminate tooth decay in school-age children when used in combination with fluoride.
Teach Your Children These To-Do’s
• Make taking care of teeth fun! Let your child pick out their own toothbrush or perhaps make teeth brushing a family affair. It’s always fun to brush the tongue!• Brush teeth 2 times each day for 2 minutes
• Use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste
• Spit and don’t swallow
• Angle toothbrush against gums
• Brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes
• Brush the front, back, and top of teeth
• Brush tongue to remove germs and freshen breath
• Have your child floss daily to remove plaque from between the teeth and under the gum line, before it can harden into tartar.
Kids will generally need help with brushing until age six or seven. Beginning around age 4, begin flossing for your child. By the time they reach age 8, most kids can begin flossing for themselves.
A Few Facts
• Kids should use a soft toothbrush with a shape that will allow them to reach all areas of their mouth.
• Plaque is a sticky film of germs that forms on teeth and gums after eating. Plaque that’s not removed by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can lead to cavities.
• Taking good care of your own teeth sends a message that oral health is something to be valued.
• A balanced diet is necessary for your child to develop strong, decay-resistant teeth.
• Discourage frequent snacking between meals, especially sugary foods. The sugars and starches found in many foods and snacks like cookies, candy, and soft drinks attack the tooth enamel and may lead to cavities.