Caring for Your Child's Teeth

Teaching your son or daughter good dental habits at an early age will help them to avoid problems later in life

This article was provided by Dental Office H33

Looking after your child's teeth takes a little extra care but means your son or daughter has healthy teeth and gums for life and avoids the need for unpleasant and expensive treatments.

This article describes the issues involved and what you can do to contribute to your kids' dental care.

You should, of course, also regularly visit your dentist and hygienist. American Dental provides comprehensive quality dental care for kids in a caring environment.


Primary Teeth are particularly important, because healthy primary teeth and gums set up the correct spacing and alignment for healthy adult teeth and gums.

Early prevention through regular exams, cleanings, use of fluoride supplements and education can prevent future problems. Care of the gums goes along with care of the teeth.

Problems with teeth and gums are largely caused by sugary foods and by a lack of dental hygiene. Children's teeth have thin enamel and are susceptible to decay. Problem teeth can be unattractive and give children low self esteem.

Treatment should be carried out as soon as problems are identified. Neglected problems can require complex treatment that can result in a child having a lasting fear of the dentist.

Dental education is a parental responsibility, since it may not be provided adequately by your child's school.

Toothbrush and toothpaste -- should be of a type especially designed for children. The toothpaste should have a flavor that children enjoy and a low fluoride level in case it's swallowed. The toothbrush should be soft enough to avoid damaging a child's gums.

A balanced diet is necessary in order that your child develop strong, decay-resistant teeth. In addition to a full range of vitamins and minerals, a child's diet should include plenty of calcium, phosphorous, and proper levels of fluoride.

If injuries occur -- your child chips, breaks or knocks out a tooth -- you should contact your dentist immediately to determine the appropriate treatment. Take all the pieces of the damaged tooth to the dentist.

During pregnancy you should take steps to ensure the dental health of your child. Make sure you consume enough calcium for the development of a baby's teeth and bones, from milk, cheese, dried beans, and/or leafy green vegetables. Avoid tetracycline, a common antibiotic, in the last half of pregnancy and during nursing, as it can cause tooth discoloration.

Make dental care fun by, for example, playing dentist with your child -- use a flashlight and mirror and count each other's teeth. Make brushing fun too.


Six months to two years old

• Teething occurs between the ages of six months and three years. This causes tender gums, which can be relieved by rubbing with your finger, with a small chilled spoon, or a frozen teething ring, or through the use of special pain-relief gels and medications

• Once your child's teeth emerge, brush them twice daily, before bedtime and after breakfast. At first, use a soft baby toothbrush that fits on your finger, then a regular baby toothbrush

First visit to the dentist at 12 months, then every six months

• Give your children a fluoride supplement (Prague's tap water doesn't contain fluoride)

• Get your child off the pacifier (dummy) by 18 months. Extended use can result in teeth and jaw problems

• Do not put your child's pacifier in your mouth or share cutlery with your child, as that can expose him/her to bacteria

• Avoid extended exposure of your child's teeth to sugar, such as dipping their pacifier in anything sugary, or putting your child to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water

• Prevent your child from constantly snacking or drinking sweetened drinks

• Breast milk contains sugar, so a nursing baby still needs to have its teeth cleaned

Two to six years old

• Make sure your child's teeth are brushed twice daily -- your child should brush their own teeth, then you should brush them too, as a safeguard

• Start to teach your child how to floss from the age of four

• Take your child for a dental exam every six months, and ask the dentist to give you both instructions on brushing technique

• Give your child a fluoride supplement

• Limit sweet snacks and drinks between meals

From six years

• Your child should brush and floss their teeth twice daily. Allow them to do it themselves but monitor their technique

• Take your child for a professional cleaning and exam every six months

• Give your child a fluoride supplement

• Have your child use adult toothpaste from the age of six

• Limit sweet snacks and drinks between meals

• Have your child wear a protective mouth guard for contact sports

• Consider orthodontics (braces) if your child has problems with alignment and spacing of teeth

For more advice or information about our services please contact Dental Office H33.

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