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Every Child Deserves a Beautiful Smile

Kid brushing her teethIs there anything truly better than a child’s smile and laugh? It is nearly impossible to miss that contagious giggle! Everyone deserves a beautiful smile and teeth they can be proud of. Understand the importance of oral health and how to maintain that beautiful smile.

Childhood tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is the most common chronic disease in the United States. There are many ways to prevent cavities and it all starts from day one. The most effective prevention techniques include brushing and flossing, diet modification, fluoride, and routine dental visits.

At home, oral health includes brushing and flossing.

For children ages 0-8, a parent should assist with homecare because children simply don’t have the dexterity to properly care for their own teeth. Flossing your child’s teeth can be a battle, but it’s a battle you truly want to win. Cavities in between teeth are very common among children and can be prevented with daily flossing.

Diet plays a major role in childhood cavity development.

Children should be established at a dentist by the age of one, or six months after their first tooth appears. At these first few appointments, parents will learn about the importance of reducing the frequency and consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Some other significant facts to consider are:

  • Frequency of intake is more important than overall quantity
  • Snacking or “grazing” between meals should be discouraged
  • Avoid frequent consumption of soft drinks, such as juices and sports drinks, as they promote cavities and can be extremely erosive
  • In between every meal or snack, try to give your teeth a rest for at least two hours

Fluoride is delivered in two ways: systemic and topical.

Systemic fluoride helps with formation of teeth and topical fluoride helps strengthen the teeth which have already erupted. Systemic fluoride is offered in most community water supplies. Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth and can be found in toothpaste, mouthwash and a tooth varnish which is applied at the dental office every six months.

Establish a dental home.

Routine dental visits every six months with radiographs, periodic examination and a cleaning will help both parents and kids understand how they can take the absolute best care of their smiles.

Kelsi Larocque, RDH, is a registered dental hygienist at Community Kids Dental.

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