Children Dental Facts

Get snack smart with your kids

Limit the number of times a day your child eats or drinks sugars.
Avoid sugary treats that stay in the mouth for a long time like hard candy or lollipops
Avoid soft, sticky sweets that get stuck in your child’s teeth
Serve sweets for dessert while there is still plenty of saliva in your child’s mouth to wash away the sugars
Serve juice and milk during or at the end of mealtime. Drink water between meals
Serve vegetables, cheese, nuts or seeds for snacks
Have your child brush her teeth at least twice a day and before going to bed

How do I get them to ... brush their teeth

For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include:

letting him brush your teeth at the same time letting him pick out a few toothbrushes with his favorite characters and giving him a choice of which one he wants to use each time - this will give him some feeling of control over the situation.

let him brush his own teeth first - you will likely have to also do it yourself though.

Other tips can include getting a dentist kit that he can play with or read some children's books about tooth brushing. Or have everyone brush their teeth at the same time and have "races", or just letting him observe that you brush your teeth too can be helpful. To help him understand the importance of brushing, it can be sometimes fun and helpful to let him eat or drink something that will "stain" his teeth temporarily, such as oreos, and then let him brush them clean.

It can also be a good idea to create a "tooth brushing routine" that can include playing some music, getting things set up, etc. And stick to the same routine each day. Ultimately though, this is not something he can get out of doing. Regular brushing is very important to his dental health. If you are still having problems, then a visit to a Pediatric Dentist can be helpful. Keep in mind that most children's toothpaste brands, such as Barney toothpaste, are
fluoridated, and you only want to use a very small pea size amount of toothpaste. Swallowing too much toothpaste with fluoride can lead to staining of the teeth (fluorosis).

Children often injure their teeth

causing them to become cracked or chipped or more seriously, completely knocked out. If your child's tooth is knocked out, you should place it in a glass of milk. You can also replace it in its socket in older, cooperative children. Also place a gauze over the area that was injured and take your child to a dentist or emergency room as soon as possible after the injury. If attended to quickly, the tooth may be able to be replaced and re-implanted.

Does my child need fluoride supplements

In general, yes. All children need supplemental fluoride after they are six months old to help prevent cavities. For most children, they can get this fluoride from the water they drink, if they are in an area where the city water supply has an adequate amount of fluoride in it (greater than 0.6 ppm), and they are drinking tap water.

Sources of water that generally don't have enough fluoride include well water and filtered or bottled water, although some brands of bottled water (or nursery water) do have fluoride added to it. Also, commercially prepared pre-mixed infant formulas do not contain an adaquate amount of fluoride, so consider using a powder or concentrated formula and mixing it with tap water, supplement your infant with extra tap water, or talk to your Pediatrician about giving fluoride supplements.

If you only use a water filter pitcher or a counter top filter, it likely doesn't remove the fluoride from the water. Other
types of water filters might though. If you have any doubt, check with the filter's manufacturer.

It is in general better to have your child drink water that is supplemented with fluoride instead of giving extra fluoride drops or supplements. Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, which is permanent white to brown discoloration of the enamel of the teeth. It is easier to get fluorosis if you are giving your child fluoride drops and he is still getting fluoride from his diet.

Talk with your Pediatrician or Pediatric Dentist if you think that your child may need fluoride supplements.

Why are my child's teeth stained

In addition to intrinsic staining, that can be caused by fluorosis, blood and bile pigments, inherited defects of dentin and enamel, medications (especially tetracycline), and trauma, teeth can also be extrinsically stained from bacteria and food stains.

Some interesting facts on children oral health

Is snacking healthy for my child's teeth ?

For between meal snacks, choose nutritious foods for your child to promote good dental and general health. Sugary snack foods can lead to cavities

Plaque is a sticky, clear film that forms on our teeth every day. Plaque contains germs (bacteria) that stick to teeth. The sugar in food and drinks reacts with plaque to form an acid that eats away the hard outer layer (enamel). Over time, this acid will make a hole in the enamel creating a cavity or dental decay.

Making good snacking choices helps prevent dental decay

Eating healthy food is always a good choice for both dental health and general health.

Choose nutritious, unsweetened snack foods. Read ingredients lists when choosing snacks. Molasses, honey, fructose, glucose and sucrose are all types of sugar. It is better to eat sweets at meal time and not as snacks. The increased saliva flow during a meal dilutes sugars and helps wash them away. Reduce the time that sweet food stays in contact with the teeth. Limit sugared drinks, chewing sugared gum or sucking on candy over long periods of time. After your child eats sweet, sticky foods, brush your child's teeth. When brushing is not possible, rinse the mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum.

Try these suggestions for healthy snack foods:

bagel and cheese
bread sticks
pita bread with cheese
cottage cheese yogurt
nuts and seeds (for older children)
half sandwich (cheese, egg, ham, salmon, tuna)
pita bread with hummus
unsweetened fruit juice
vegetable juice
hard boiled eggs

Brushing and flossing every day helps prevent tooth decay !

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