Brushing and flossing:
Your child may need some help brushing until he is between ages 7 and 10. Even if his intentions are good, he may not have the dexterity to clean his teeth well. Ideally, the teeth should be brushed within five minutes to 10 minutes after eating. Also, for long-term dental health, your child needs to care for his gums as well; he should be taught to floss regularly, preferably once a day, in order to help prevent gum (or periodontal) disease in adulthood.
A tartar-control toothpaste can help keep plaque from adhering to your child’s teeth. Also, fluoride in the toothpaste can strengthen the exposed outer enamel of the youngster’s teeth and help prevent cavities. Fluoride also has been added to the water supply in many cities. If your own tap water has less than the recommended levels of this nutrient, your Dentist may suggest that you add fluoride to your child’s diet beginning at age 6 months, often as part of a vitamin supplement. Fluoride treatment should continue until age 16. Ask your doctor or dentist for guidance.
Make sure your youngster has dental check-ups twice a year for cleaning, as well as for X-rays as recommended by your dentist. Parents may choose to utilize a dentist with special interest and expertise in children’s dentistry. Regular preventive appointments will significantly decrease your child’s chances of ever having to undergo major dental treatment. Also, contact your dentist whenever your child complains of a toothache. This pain could be a sign of a decayed tooth. Until the dentist can see your child, treat the pain with acetaminophen by mouth.
Your dentist may also suggest placing sealants on your child’s molars. These thin plastic coatings prevent plaque from accumulating and becoming trapped in the pits and fissures of the teeth. They are appropriate for all rear teeth that have grooves in them, and because they are extremely successful in preventing cavities, they are cost-effective too. Sealants may need to be reapplied during adolescence. With a combination of sealants and fluoride treatment, the incidence of cavities can be reduced by 90 percent.
Diet can also play a role in healthy teeth. In particular, minimize your child’s contact with high-sugar and sticky sweets and other carbohydrates. Cut back on snacking on sweets between meals, when these foods are more likely to linger in the mouth without brushing.
If baby teeth are not lost in the right order, or if a tooth is lost and more than three months go by without a permanent replacement coming in, there may a problem. Some possibilities include missing teeth, crowding, problems with the tooth loss mechanism, or the underlying tooth is just crooked and it is not pushing out the one above it.
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