December 9, 2019
Young smiles are prone to cavities. While the reasons range from novice brushing techniques to the consumption of too much sugar, it is important that as a parent, you take the time to help your child better understand why they must brush, floss, and rinse their teeth each morning and every night. Children that start practicing good oral hygiene habits at an early age have a better chance of maintaining good oral health into adulthood. Although not always easy, your dentist in Lincoln can provide 5 ways to prevent pediatric cavities. From dental sealants to a healthier diet, read on to find out what tips you can employ at home.
Combat Tooth Decay by Using Fluoride
For decades, dentists have encouraged both children and adults to use fluoride toothpaste. Not only does it combat tooth decay, but it also helps to strengthen tooth enamel. This beneficial mineral works to thicken the tooth enamel, making it much more resistant to decay, which is a good thing for young teeth. During your child’s regular dental checkup, we can provide a fluoride treatment by placing a varnish on their teeth, giving them an added boost of cavity protection before they go home.
Protect Their Teeth with Dental Sealants
Pediatric cavities often occur on the back teeth because these are the hardest to reach for children. Not only have they yet to master proper brushing techniques but trying to thoroughly clean teeth that are far back in their mouth can often be difficult. This is where dental sealants come in. Your dentist can place a thin layer of composite resin over the chewing surfaces of these teeth that acts like a barrier against plaque, acids, and bacteria, keeping anything harmful from settling on their precious pearly whites.
Make Sure They Follow the 2×2 Rule
Before your child can even hold their own toothbrush, it is important that their teeth are brushed twice a day. As they grow older, you can implement the 2×2 rule, which is to brush twice a day for two full minutes. When they wake in the morning, set a timer to help them brush for the full duration of time. Many electric toothbrushes have an automatic timer, but if your child is still using a manual brush, simply set a timer on your phone. It is also necessary that they brush their teeth before going to bed, as everything they’ve consumed throughout the day may still be on their teeth.
Establish Healthy Eating Habits
It’s not enough to simply stash away the sugary cookies and potato chips. You must talk to your children about the importance of eating healthy. Maintaining a well-balanced diet of lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats will ensure their oral and overall health remains in good shape. Consuming too much sugar or starch can lead to larger waistbands as well as tooth decay and cavities.
Maintain Regular Dental Checkups
Just like it’s important for adults to see their dentist twice a year, children must also do the same. Their teeth are growing and developing and require frequent checkups and cleanings to ensure everything is progressing and moving in the right direction. Unlike permanent teeth, primary (baby) teeth still need to fall out, so by monitoring their growth and making sure there are no problems along the way, this will ensure their adult teeth erupt and come in straight.
Make your child’s oral health a priority. By putting in the time and effort now, you will be setting them up for a successful future that is free of decay and disease.
About the Author
Dr. Marty Killeen has been in private practice since 2006. Graduating from Saint Louis University with his undergraduate degree, he enrolled at the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry where he completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2004. He then went on to complete a pediatric dental specialty residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Treating young smiles is his passion, and whether it is providing a regular cleaning or offering tips and suggestions to parents about ways to keep their little one’s teeth healthy at home, he and his team are always willing to help. For questions about our services, visit our website or call (402) 420-8020.
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