Oral Health Tips From Your Local Montgomery Pediatric Dentist
At Dentistry for Children, we're committed to providing quality pediatric dental care to children in Montgomery, Wetumpka, AL and the surrounding area. Our doctors and staff are specialty trained to work with children and patients with special needs, so you can be assured that your child will be taken care of in a friendly, welcoming and comfortable environment. We know that the dentist can be a source of anxiety for kids, and we work hard to build a trusting relationship with our patients. We believe that positive dental experiences at a young age will lead to a lifelong commitment to oral health and hygiene.
Brushing regularly is important because it removes the build-up of the food particles and bacteria that cause cavities. You should brush four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
When brushing, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. Move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth, and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all your front and back teeth. Remember to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse. Avoid swallowing any toothpaste and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing.
When you notice the bristles on your toothbrush starting to wear down or fray, it's time to replace your toothbrush. It's important to brush and floss daily for optimal oral hygiene.
In addition to brushing, flossing is important for reaching the areas between teeth that a toothbrush can't reach to remove food particles and plaque. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.
Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser and wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Make sure to floss behind all of your back teeth.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, it's natural for your gums to bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.
Dental Care for 2-Year-Olds
Dealing with our children as they enter those "terrible twos" can be a real challenge but often a rewarding experience. Taking proper care of their teeth and mouth is a major responsibility. You see, infants use their mouth to evaluate the world around them.
Everything they touch goes straight to the mouth, to be licked, tasted and chewed on. Their first year is spent eating and sleeping, using their mouth constantly to gain nourishment and to begin to communicate with others around them. A child's mouth is very important to them, and it should be important to us.
Most parents now realize that an infant should never be put to bed with a bottle and that a child should be off the bottle by the first birthday. Some parents may not be aware that nursing at random times during the night after the eruption of the four front teeth can also result in tooth decay. More importantly, allowing a child to continuously nibble between meals or use a sippy cup to constantly drink sweet liquids can be just as devastating. By snacking frequently, rather than establishing structured eating habits, we continuously feed the microscopic bacteria present in everyone's mouth. They, in turn, produce an acid that is capable of etching or dissolving the enamel surfaces of the teeth. Each "dose" of sugar results in a 20 to 30 minute acid attack on the teeth. We should therefore resolve to limit the frequency of the snacks and provide healthy foods and water to prevent dehydration.
Brushing an infant's teeth can also present a real challenge. I often hear, "My 2-year-old will not let me brush her teeth." Remember that you are the parent, and you know what is best for your child. It is important for your child to know that keeping his teeth clean and healthy is necessary for his overall health, for having a pleasant smile and for speaking and eating properly. Begin to remind your child of this at an early age. Try to make tooth brushing a game, and do not allow it to become a power struggle. Brush twice daily, with only a tiny, pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste on a very soft toothbrush. Positioning your child is all-important for proper brushing. You should be seated with the child standing between your legs, facing away from you. Allow your child to rest his head against your chest or stomach, and retract the lips with your free hand. The teeth can then be more easily brushed, as you are imitating the same movements as when brushing your own teeth. By establishing healthy habits at a young age, you can significantly affect and contribute to your child's dental wellbeing. A healthy smile, a happy child and a grateful dentist will be your rewards!
If you have any questions about brushing and flossing or you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our Montgomery, AL office. Our friendly staff is happy to answer your questions or help you schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!