For school age children, going to the dentist can be a big adventure. New sights, smells, and tastes stimulate their senses as they learn to brush and floss their own teeth. They may prefer a blue toothbrush one week and a green one the next. And, as for toothpaste flavors, remember that the best toothpaste is that one that gets used.
For parents of school-age children, the dental team at Growing Smiles promotes a “1-2-3” approach:
1 – First dental visit by first birthday. This is endorsed by the American Dental Association.
2 – Brush for 2min2x/day.
3 – The number of people involved in oral health of a child: child, parent, and dentist.
Brown Bag Lunch Tips for Healthy Teeth
Packing a healthy lunch for your kids may sound easy, but many foods deemed “healthy” may actually contain carbohydrates and sugars that attack tooth enamel and may eventually lead to decay. And, because most children don’t brush at school, sending them with a healthy school lunch can help maintain good oral health and establish good nutritional habits.
Don’t pack foods that are sticky and /or chewy and stick to the teeth because saliva is unable to wash away the cavity-causing sugars in these treats. Limit snacks such as raisins, granola bars, peanut butter/oatmeal cookies, lollipops, chewy fruit snacks, taffy, hard candy, etc.
Do pack fruits, vegetables or cheese in your child’s lunchbox. The best fruit choices are those containing more water, such as: apples, grapes, pears, cantaloupes and other melons. Any type of aged cheese is a good choice, such as: Swiss, Cheddar or Monterey Jack. Vegetable choices may include raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers and celery.
Encourage your children to drink lots of water and limit fruit juice and soda. Regular flossing and brushing could help them prevent stains from forming on their teeth and bad breath.
How do I choose a toothpaste for my child?
As kids grow and the oral environment changes, so do the specific toothpaste needs.
Fluoride is the toothpaste ingredient used to prevent cavities and nearly every toothpaste contains some, however, fluoride toothpastes are not recommended for children until they have the ability to effectively spit out the toothpaste. After age six, less than a “pea-sized” amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used with guidance.
Once permanent teeth begin to erupt or orthodontic appliances are in place, “adult” fluoride toothpastes can be used safely. The brand or type does not matter. What does matter is finding a toothpaste that appeals to your child. If you need specific recommendations, please ask one of our dentists, hygienists, or assistants.
Should my child wear a mouth guard?
Wearing a mouth guard is your child’s best defense against preventing facial and mouth injuries.
Mouth guards provide protection to the upper teeth and can cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth and helping to prevent concussions. They come in three forms: stock, “boil and bite,” and custom-fitted.
Stock (off-the-shelf) and “boil and bite” protectors (formed at home by softening a moldable guard in boiling water) are sold at sporting goods stores and are inexpensive options for protection for kids who are still losing teeth. Custom-fitted mouth guards are created specifically for your child’s mouth by our dental staff and provide the best level of protection because they provide the best fit. Talk with your child’s dental hygienist, Dr. Diana, or Dr. Lyman if you need help deciding what type is the right choice for your child.