Prevention

How can I prevent tooth decay on my child?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits. (www.aapd.org)

Can nursing cause decay? If so, how can I prevent it?

Nursing can cause decay. Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday. (www.aapd.org)

When should I start cleaning my child’s teeth? Is it ok using toothpaste on my child and what kind should I use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.  Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.  If your child is unable to spit the toothpaste, wipe it off with a small towel or gauze. (www.aapd.org)

What is fluoride and how does it help my child?

Fluoride is a mineral that helps fight tooth decay. It is found in public water supplies, toothpaste and many other dental products. Fluoride helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay can be seen. Research shows that fluoride helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause cavities. When you brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, you are preventing cavities and strengthening his/her teeth’s enamel. (www.mouthhealthy.org)

How do I prevent bad breath (halitosis) in my child?

It is very important to brush your child’s teeth, gums, and tongue, and floss every day. We do not recommend that children or teenagers use alcohol-based mouth rinses. Bad breath can also be seen in children with allergies, asthma, sinus infections, or gastrointestinal problems. If you are addressing your child’s dental health and the bad breath is still present, we recommend you have your child be seen by their pediatrician to address the primary cause.

What are dental sealants?

Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years. (www.aapd.org)

Is chewing gum good for my child’s teeth?

Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel. In the other hand, Chewing gum with sugar is bad for your child’s teeth. Look for chewing gum with the ADA seal because you can be sure it’s sugarless. (www.mouthhealthy.org)

Are gummy vitamins, fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups or any other sticky snacks bad for my child’s teeth?

Gummy Vitamins, Fruit Snacks, Fruit Roll-ups and sticky snacks such as raisins and/or dried fruit are not healthy for your child’s teeth. They contain sugar and because of their texture, they stick to the teeth and remain in your child’s teeth for long periods of time. The daily intake of these items, coupled with the amount of sugar and stickiness, can cause cavities. A few options to replace these are items are as follows: For gummy vitamins, try to look for sugar-free gummy vitamins. If unable, try to replace them with children’s liquid vitamins or chewable vitamins. For Fruit Snacks and Fruit Roll ups, try to replace them with providing your child with actual fruits in their diet. (Orlando Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics)