Are You Getting it Right for YOUR Kids? Caring for Kids Teeth: The Basics
Now that Halloween’s over – and there’s still piles of candy left – it’s a great time to focus on a healthy routine for your children. Dr. Ray Liu, our practicing dentist here in both the Glen Abbey and River Oaks dental offices, reminds parents and kids that it’s important to ensure teeth have a short exposure to sugar. “Try to steer them away from suckers, toffee and caramel,” says Dr. Liu. “Chewy candy and lollipops keep sugar on the teeth for extended periods of time – and that’s when bacteria can develop, turn into acid and begin to dissolve the teeth.” It’s also helpful to limit sugary treats to between meals and not straight after eating.
But what about taking care of our children’s teeth every day? Are your kids adopting the right routine for healthy teeth and gums?
Children can avoid excessive cavities, if you adopt three key habits. Give them fluoridated toothpaste and adopt regular flossing combined with thorough brushing – and you can counteract many known and unknown sugar sources throughout the day.
- Brush twice per day – Kids are generally more motivated when using an electric toothbrush, so that can get them into a better routine – plus electric toothbrushes can help us all to be more thorough and consistent. Ideally children should be spending 30 seconds on each quarter, looking in the mirror to make sure they’ve hit every spot.
- Floss before brushing – It’s so important for kids to floss. “90 percent of cavities I see in children are between the back molars,” warns Dr. Liu. Monitor your children and help them to floss between every tooth, until they’re completely competent on their own.
- Use fluoridated toothpaste
Most toothpastes have a similar amount of fluoride content – and using a kids toothpaste is fine. Some parents are worried about fluoride, but Dr. Liu advises: “There is a big risk of promoting decay, without fluoridated toothpaste. With kids’ teeth, the benefits far outweigh any potential long term systemic risk. Use a small amount – a pea-sized squeeze of toothpaste on their brush is plenty.”
At Oakville Dental Offices, we recommend children visit us at six-month intervals. The first visit is usually an informal one, between the ages of 2 and 3, so we can ‘count’ their teeth and, if they’re ready, have some fun in the chair! We encourage parents and caregivers to bring children to their own appointments too, to expose little ones to the unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells at the dentist’s office and develop a positive experience from the start.
Call us to book an appointment for your child – our friendly staff are always ready to welcome the whole family!