Pediatric Dentistry: Tips To Keep Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy & White!

From their smile, it’s hard to imagine your children’s’ teeth as anything other than strong and gleaming. Before years of drinking coffee, tea and soda, your kids’ teeth might appear white, but that doesn’t mean they’re clean or strong. Proper dental care and good dental hygiene help your children’s’ teeth appear as strong and bright to their pediatric dentist, as they do you.

Healthy Smiles Start Before the Teeth Arrive

You can prepare your children for a childhood of healthy teeth by establishing good dental hygiene well before the first tooth even arrives. Massage your baby’s gums after each meal with a gauze pad or a clean washcloth.

While this may sound extreme, it actually serves two very important functions. First, removing the bacteria and food residue from your baby’s gums creates a healthy environment for the growth of the first tooth. Second, cleaning their gums gets them used to an adult touching the inside their mouth- something that makes teeth brushing and dentist visits infinitely easier.

Still not convinced? Imagine the flailing, squealing and sometimes sobbing response of your 10 month old when you wipe his face. Unless they’re used to having their “gums brushed” before the first tooth arrives, the above reaction is only a fraction of the resistance you’ll experience when trying to brush their teeth.

Brushing Technique

A soft-bristle toothbrush is best for cleaning your children’s’ teeth. Focus on the area closest to the gum line since this is where plaque and tater accumulate. Massage the brush with constant circular motions, starting in the very back of your child’s mouth and working you way forward.

Some parents find it easier to use a child-size electric toothbrush. Toddlers are notoriously ineffective teeth brushers, and 5 year-olds don’t fair much better. For maximum dental care, expect to brush your children’s’ teeth for them until they’re at least 7 years old.

Brushing Frequency

Morning

Just like adults, your kids’ teeth require brushing at least twice a day. Mornings are hardest. Ideally, your kids’ should brush their teeth after eating. Something you can ensure by keeping the toothbrushes and toothpaste in the bathroom closest to the kitchen. But, especially with toddlers, herding them back into the bathroom after breakfast isn’t a realistic plan.

Instead, bundle all the bathroom-related activities together by brushing your children’s’ teeth immediately after they use the toilet, and before they go downstairs. This at least removes the bacteria and plaque that build up overnight. If you have extra time to brush again after breakfast, great! If not, you’ll know that they’re starting the day with a clean smile.

Bedtime Brushing

Night time brushing should be as much apart of your kids’ routine as changing into their pajamas and reading stories. Brush your children’s teeth after they take a bath or use the toilet, and before they get into bed.

The only liquid in their bottle should be water. Period. Putting your child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice forces their teeth to soak in sugars all night long. When traveling, keep a few disposable finger toothbrushes in your bag and brush their teeth before they fall asleep in the car or on an airplane.

Fluoride

Fluoride acts like a shield for young teeth by keeping them strong against bacteria, and can even reverse early-stage cavities. Many communities have natural fluoride in the drinking water, other add it at the water treatment facility. Visit your municipal water works website to determine whether your town’s water has fluoride.

If your town doesn’t have fluoride in the drinking water, or if your child drinks only bottled or filtered water, speak with your pediatric dentist about fluoride drops or tablets.

Diet

Plaque and tater cause tooth decay, but food and diet are responsible for the initial buildup of both these items. Starchy and sugary foods feed tartar, causing it to coat the teeth. Tartar is that textured film you feel on your own teeth several hours after eating a large, carbohydrate-heavy meal. To prevent cavities, brushing your teeth is necessary, but so is a proper diet.

The obvious offenders are candy and sweets, but kids who walk around sucking on a bottle or sippy cup of juice aren’t much better off. The absolute worst foods for your children’s teeth are anything sticky, such as taffe, caramel or gummy snacks.

These stick to your children’s’ teeth, and set your kids up for lots of nasty cavities. The point is, every time your child eats something sweet, their teeth get a sugar bath of tartar-growing material. Limit your child’s starchy snacks between meals and opt for string cheese or veggies and dip over gummy fruit snacks or animal crackers.

Regular Visits to the Dentist

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children who visit the Dentist before their first birthday experience less tooth decay and 40% less fewer dental-related costs than their peers who don’t. Two visits a year to your pediatric dentist familiarizes your child with the teeth cleaning process and allows the dentist to catch any issues pertaining to your child’s bite or possible cavities.

Thomas Stone

Thomas Stone is health blogger at doseofmyown.com and he focuses primarily on the benefits of exercise and nutrition for health.

6 thoughts on “Pediatric Dentistry: Tips To Keep Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy & White!

  • July 8, 2015 at 12:53 pm
    Permalink

    I am very concerned for my children s teeth. I had terrible teeth growing up, and that’s because I never went to the dentist. I have heard that fluoride might be bad for your teeth as well. Is too much fluoride bad? http://thesmileacademy.com/

    Reply
  • March 10, 2015 at 12:52 am
    Permalink

    I agree the biggest reason to work on your dental health while they are children is that it builds good dental habits that they will be able to keep with them all of their life. My Dentist in Lethbridge has been very helpful in teaching my children to be able to take care of their teeth.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm
    Permalink

    I love this! As a mother, I am always looking for tips to help keep my children’s teeth pearly white. We went to our dentist in Edmonton for our checkups, and none of us had cavities, and I want to keep it that way. I will definitely use these tips from now on. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  • August 19, 2013 at 9:29 am
    Permalink

    I think the biggest reason to work hard on dental health while they are young is that it builds good habits that they will keep with them throughout their life. My dentist in Lethbridge has been very helpful in teaching my children good dental hygiene.

    Reply
  • July 31, 2013 at 11:38 am
    Permalink

    Nothing beats a children’s smile! It is so important to make sure
    our youth learn early habits that can carry over into adulthood. I find it
    amazing that so many parents wait so long, or don’t take a more active approach
    to dental care for their children. My dentist talks about how many children
    have lost some of their early adult teeth from terrible oral hygiene habits.
    They have a whole page showing where kids had major work done just to get back
    those innocent pearly whites! http://authenticsmiles.com/gallery/smile-gallery/

    Reply
  • June 8, 2012 at 12:50 am
    Permalink

    The best thing to keep our kid’s oral health healthy is to visit their pediatric dentist regularly since they’re the one who knows what’s the best for your kids.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Regina Peterson Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.