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Let’s Talk Children’s Dental Health Month with Cedar Rapids Pediatric Dentistry

February 6, 2020

February is Pediatric Dental Health Month, and we’re excited to kick things off with some tips on keeping your family’s smiles healthy.

Modeling Behavior

Creating good dental habits for your children should start as soon as they wake up. Before breakfast, you should brush your teeth with your kiddos. When children are learning good habits, modeling the behavior can be beneficial. Let them watch you, and then work with them on their skills.

Brushing and Flossing

Start with a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Tooth paste amount is important for their safety and should be put on by a grownup until they are old enough.  One-year-olds should have a smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Three-year-olds and up can have a pea-sized ball of toothpaste.  Children will need help with brushing until they are about 7 years old or until they are finished with 2nd grade!  Brushing along gumlines is hard – and little wrists may have a hard time reaching everywhere.

Flossing is important because it removes plaque and food that is between teeth. Brushing can only go so far, and flossing does the rest of the job. It’s not only good for your mouth, but helps prevent bad breath, which makes morning cuddles with your kiddos much more enjoyable. Even if your kids’ teeth aren’t touching, you can still work on forming the habit from a young age. Because gums are sensitive, parents should be in charge of flossing until age 6 or 7when kids have better control over fine motor skills.

In addition to brushing and flossing twice a day, you can also take extra steps to protecting your kids’ teeth. The molar teeth are most susceptible to cavities for two reasons. First, their chewing surface have more pits and fissures than the rest of the teeth (they are the wrinkles and grooves on the biting sides!). This can make it more difficult for toothbrush bristles to clean the chewing surface. Second, the majority of chewing is done with your molars, increasing the chances of food and bacteria getting stuck and causing decay.

Preventative Options

To protect your children’s molars, we may recommend an application of sealant when they fully come in.  These grown-up teeth usually start to come in by age-6 for the first set and age-12 for the second set.  They are usually finished growing in about 2-3 years after they poke through, and a protective sealant on their biting surfaces can really minimize the chance of a cavity on these important grown-up teeth!  A report published in July, 2017 by the Cochrane Collaboration, a group that studies and analyzes health information, found that the prevalence of cavities was reduced by 51% in children whose teeth were treated with a sealant.  That’s a lot!  It’s one of the beneficial preventative things we can do to protect them.

Healthy Choices

Brushing, flossing and visiting Cedar Rapids Pediatric Dentistry can help keep yoru teeth and gums healthy.  But it’s important to keep them healthy on the inside too! What you give kiddos for snack and what you put on your family’s dinner table has a big impact on their dental health. Be sure to include colorful fruit and vegetables in your family meals!  Be sure to visit our FaceBook Page HERE for more great snack and meal ideas for your family.

 

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