THE LIFE OF A PARENT is a hectic one. Keeping track of everything your growing child needs can be a real juggling act, so maybe we can take one of the balls out of the air. As your South San Francisco dentist we have a few easy tips for how to stay on top of your kids’ dental health (without neglecting your own)!
1. Choosing the Right Toothbrush
Brushing (whether with a manual or electric toothbrush) is the easiest and most important method of cavity prevention, but it can be tricky to find the right toothbrush for your child with so many different options available.
A good place to start is by looking for a toothbrush with soft, polished (round-ended) bristles. These brushes clean effectively but are still gentle to the gums. Make sure the brush is designed for small hands and mouths, and try to replace it every few months or so. A brush with frayed, smashed bristles won’t be as effective!
Your child probably won’t be able to brush their teeth effectively without help until they’re 7 or 8, so make sure to work with them and supervise their technique. Then they’ll know how to do it properly when they’ve developed enough hand-eye coordination for it!
2. Sealants Are Excellent for Cavity-Prevention
Dental sealants are a layer of clear plastic material that can be painted over the deep grooves and pits in the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent decay and block out bacteria. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends sealants, especially for children who already have a history of tooth decay. Sealants significantly reduce the risk of childhood caries.
3. Cheese and Fruit: Great Teeth-Friendly Snacks
Research shows that some of the healthiest snacks for a growing child’s teeth are cheese and fruit. Cheese is a great source of calcium (which will help remineralize their tooth enamel) and helps to stimulate the salivary glands. Saliva is important for clearing food remnants away and neutralizing harmful acids. Fruit is also a great mouth-healthy snack, because the fibers of the fruit help scrub teeth clean. We recommend whole or sliced fruit over fruit juice every time!
4. Pediatric Dentists and Teen Patients
The term “pediatric dentistry” might sound like it’s only for small children, but pediatric dentists have specialized expertise in treating growing teenagers’ oral health too. The teenage years are a period of tremendous growth and change for a child’s face and jaws, which certainly merits the attention of a specialist.
5. Parents, Know What to Expect from Whitening Toothpaste
Parents and teens alike love having pearly white teeth, but make sure you understand how whitening toothpaste works so you can manage your expectations. These types of toothpaste contain mild abrasives and polishing agents to remove surface stains, but they can’t do anything about deeper stains, which require more thorough whitening treatments like microabrasion or bleaching.
Extra Tip: The Dentist Is Your Best Dental Health Resource
Whatever questions you have about your child’s dental health or your own are questions we’d love to answer! We look forward to seeing you for your regular cleaning appointments or if you have cause for concern between your regular visits.
If it's been more than 6 months since your last check-up and cleaning,