Caring for Your Child’s Teeth
As with adult dental care, prevention plays a valuable role in not only good dental health, but in your child’s overall health. With cavities on the rise in younger children, educating parents in the care of their children’s teeth is a top priority for Dr. Buttaro, from regular dental visits to home dental care.
Dr Buttaro follows The American Dental Association (ADA) recommended guidelines which state s that children begin regular dental check-ups (well-baby check-ups) at one year of age, and continue every six months from there. A routine visit with Dr. Buttaro will entail a full examination of your child’s mouth, searching for signs of early decay and surveying tooth development. A professional dental cleaning will also provide a fluoride treatment to help protect tooth enamel. And a dental sealant may also be applied to block out food and damaging bacteria from fissures and hard-to-reach crevices.
Dr. Buttaro will also instruct you how to effectively brush your child’s teeth, and how to teach your child to begin brushing when they are old enough. And there are more things you, as a parent, can do at home to bolster a healthy mouth for your child.
Dental care at home:
- Brushing – Your child’s teeth can be brushed as soon as they break through the skin. A small pea-sized dot of toothpaste with a soft-bristled brush is recommended to brush his or her teeth at least twice a daily.
- Wiping Gums - babies’ gums should be wiped down with a soft, warm cloth after every feeding. Even a mother’s milk can do damage to incoming teeth if left to linger.
- Flossing - Flossing your child’s teeth is also important. When two teeth come in side-by-side, be sure to floss between them.
- Fluoride – Fluoride in toothpaste can be a helpful tool to retain enamel and prevent cavities. However, high levels of fluoride can be toxic and overuse can result in a condition called fluorosis, characterized by white specks on the teeth.
- Sippy Cups – Sippy cups increase the contact sugary drinks have with your child’s teeth and gums, thus increasing the chances for tooth decay. The uses of sippy cups should be stopped as soon as your child can safely hold a regular cup. A good alternative is a cup with a lid and straw. A straw actually decreases the contact sugary drinks have with your child’s teeth.
- Pacifiers – Thumbing sucking and pacifiers can both contribute to tooth misalignment. To help decrease the influence of a pacifier on your child’s teeth, use an orthodontic pacifier.
- Diet – A healthy, low-sugar diet is paramount to your child’s oral health. Be aware of drinks and snacks that are loaded with sugar – fruit juices and flavored milks can be a hidden source of sugar. Read the labels of your food before you buy. When your child does consume sugary drinks and snacks, be sure to brush his or her teeth immediately afterwards. If brushing is not an option, have you child swish water in his or her mouth to rinse away the sugary. But best of all, always try to provide healthy alternatives to sugary snacks.