What guidelines will help children remain cavity-free? Cavities are one of the most preventable oral health conditions that your child can get, but it does take a strong commitment from you and your child to reduce their risk of developing tooth decay. Today, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines are the most trusted resource available to help you work with your child’s orthodontic care team to lower their risk of developing cavities. To help you get started, these are some of the most simple guidelines that you can follow to help your child avoid the most common pediatric dental issues.
Start Dental and Orthodontic Care Early
Unfortunately, one of the most startling children’s oral health facts is that most children have some form of tooth decay by the time that they reach adulthood. While this is an upsetting thing to read, you do not have to allow your child to become part of this statistic. Instead, you should begin your child’s first dental checkups by the time that they turn one year old or when they get their first tooth. You should also have your child receive an early screening by an orthodontist around the age of seven to identify potential problem areas in their mouth while they are still developing.
Encourage Toothbrushing at Least Twice a Day
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it is always worth repeating. Every child should brush their teeth at least twice a day. However, your child may need to brush more often if they wear braces simply because food can sometimes get stuck in the wires. Make sure that your child knows how to brush their teeth properly by using soft, gentle circular motions that also reach the back of the teeth. While it doesn’t require hard pressure to remove plaque from the teeth, it is critical to reaching all of the surfaces that are possible to prevent build up that leads to decay.
Teach Your Child How to Floss
You should also be aware that children’s oral health facts reveal that the spaces between the teeth are the most common places for tooth decay to show up in children. This is because many children simply skip flossing, or they may be unable to floss properly between teeth that are spaced too closely together. When your child is very young, you may have to floss for them.
Then, you can gradually allow them to practice flossing on their own with you following up by making sure that they remove all of the particles stuck between their teeth. If you or your child notices that it is difficult to floss between certain teeth, then be sure to tell their orthodontist. They may need braces or a retainer to help move their teeth apart to create an appropriately sized space that reduces the risk of cavities.
Understand the Importance of Fluoride
Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel so that it is more resistant to acids and bacteria that contribute to cavity tooth decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines, your child should use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Keep in mind that you only need to use a slight smear of toothpaste for children under the age of four.
Once they hit this age, they can then use a pea-sized dollop on their toothbrush provided that they know to rinse it out of their mouth rather than swallow it. You may also need to consider fluoride treatments or supplements if your child is prone to tooth decay or if you live in an area with untreated water.
Limit Snacking and Acidic Drinks
Most children need an occasional snack between mealtimes that are set far apart. However, they should not graze constantly, especially on sugary or sticky foods that are known to be bad for teeth. Help your child to establish a regular schedule for meals and snacks, and encourage healthy habits by stocking up on foods that are better for teeth.
For instance, apples and other crunchy fruits and vegetables help to gently remove plaque but make sure that your child can safely eat these items with their orthodontic appliances. You should also limit acidic drinks such as soda and juice. If they do indulge in these items, then have your child rinse their mouth out with water afterward.
Address Tooth Grinding and Clenching Habits
Pediatric dental issues are also caused by behavioral habits that could be linked to misalignments in there bite. For example, nighttime tooth grinding gradually wears down tooth enamel on the biting surfaces of the teeth, and both clenching and grinding generate forces that can crack teeth and leave small openings that allow bacteria to enter the inside of the tooth.
Once these little crevices occur, it is impossible to brush food particles out of them. Eventually, this can lead to problems such as staining and cavities. If you notice that your child grinds their teeth, then they need to have their jaw alignment assessed to determine if an orthodontic issue may be the cause. Your child may also need to wear a special mouthguard at night or plastic aligner trays to reduce the damage that occurs from them grinding their teeth.
Explore Your Options For Orthodontic Treatment
As your child’s adult teeth come in, you need to continuously watch for problems that increase their risk for bad cavity action or tooth decay. Often, straightening out teeth with braces is all it takes to help your teen get them extra clean. You may also need to explore different options for your child’s treatment plan that address challenges they encounter with their oral hygiene routine.
For example, Invisalign trays may be a better option for teenagers who struggle with brushing their teeth or avoiding cavity-causing food because they can simply remove them briefly for meals and toothbrushing. Always encourage your teen to be honest about their habits so that you and their orthodontic team can help them make the right choices to prevent those dreaded cavities.
Call us Today to Defeat Cavity Issues
Are you concerned that your child’s crooked or crowded teeth are increasing their risk of developing a cavity? Give us a call at Tisseront Orthodontics so that Dr. Tisseront and the team can help get their smile straightened out.
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Reston, VA 20190
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What Guidelines Help Children? (Remain Cavity-free)