1. Think “Clean not Green.” Teeth should be clean so there is no leftover food on them for the bacteria (bugs) that live in your mouth to eat. Bacteria cause decay by eating sugary leftovers and turning them into acid. The acid rots the teeth and makes holes (cavities). Clean teeth have no sugar leftovers on them and therefore do not decay. Clean teeth = no cavities.
2. Brush your teeth twice a day. An adult should help brush at least one of those times until the child has the skills and dexterity to do the job well by him or herself. An electric toothbrush is a great option for kids since it does a lot of hard work for them!
3. Floss every day. All teeth, including baby teeth, benefit from being clean, and nothing cleans between teeth as well as dental floss.
4. Sealants prevent decay. A sealant is a hard plastic that is bonded into the grooves of the biting surfaces of the back permanent teeth. The teeth should be sealed as soon as possible after they come in.
5. Fluoride really does make teeth harder and less likely to decay. Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride prescriptions (drops or tablets to chew daily) come in different strengths and are advantageous for most kids. Even when the water supply is fluoridated, some additional fluoride is usually still a great idea since most kids do not drink very much tap water. For kids with a higher decay rate, extra fluoride rinses should also help.
6. Never put a baby to bed with a bottle of any liquid other than water. Milk and juices have acids and sugar in them, and they can quickly rot a baby’s teeth if they are in contact with these liquids all night long. Water is safe.
7. Teeth are not tools; they are for eating. We do not recommend using teeth as package openers, wire strippers, nut-crackers, or pliers. The goal is to protect them. Wear a mouth guard if playing sports. We do not recommend piercings in the mouth as they can permanently chip, break, and damage teeth.
8. Get routine professional cleanings from a hygienist or dentist (We recommend once every six months, unless otherwise directed).
9. See the dentist. The first trip should be as early as age one. Most dentists prefer to wait until age 2 or 3 unless there is a potential problem. For most kids, plan on a check-up about twice a year. These routine checkups allow your dentist the best chance to diagnose any problems early, and make specific recommendations for each child. Remember — prevention and early treatment are the best medicine.
10. Make healthy choices. Soft drinks and sweets are occasional treats, and brushing after consuming is best to avoid cavities.
If you are seeking a dentist for your little one, Dr. Jubran would be happy to see them! Give us a call at 865-982-7602 to set up an appointment.