Flossing is important because, like brushing your teeth, it has many benefits for your child’s dental hygiene and oral health. Actually, you can think of dental floss as a toothbrush’s sidekick.
Floss is used to reach areas between teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing removes excess food particles and plaque from your child’s teeth and helps to prevent redness and soreness of the gums.
At What Age Should My Child Start Flossing Their Teeth?
Teaching your child about dental care from a young age can have a significant impact on their oral hygiene as they grow older. Once a child’s teeth start to fit closely together, parents should help children floss daily. Until your child can wrap the floss around their fingers, try flossing sticks. We recommend that you supervise your child’s brushing and flossing routine until they are old enough to do it on their own.
Let’s discuss why nutrition and cavities aren’t 100% linked:
A variety of whole foods is always better for your teeth than processed foods.
The most important variables that determine whether a snack food is going to cause cavities or not are:
1) Containing carbohydrates 2) How long the food stays stuck on the teeth 3) How fast the food is usually consumed
Let’s compare fresh fruit to dried fruit.
An apple 1) Contains carbohydrates 2) Doesn’t stay on the teeth for long because it is crunchy 3) Usually is eaten within 5 minutes
So, a fresh apple is on the “good list” for teeth, even though it contains sugar. Just don’t nibble on it 8 times a day, and your teeth will be fine.
A freeze-dried apple 1) Contains carbohydrates 2) Stays on the teeth for too long 3) Can be carried around for 30 minutes
So, dried fruit is worse for your teeth because it is stickier, and more likely to be carried around.
The same is true for bread and crackers. The starch in bread isn’t as sticky as a cracker. Just like fresh fruit is better than dried fruit, fresh bread is better than dried bread (a cracker).
Yes, my list has ice cream on it. Not because you should give it to your kids all of the time, but because I like to give practical advice. Because cavities are based mostly on time, your child’s teeth are actually better off to have ice cream once a day, instead of sticky crackers three times a day, because of the time factor. Bacteria can’t tell whether sugar is from a smoothie or ice cream.
Probiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.
A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.
Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.
Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.
Minimizing Bad Breath
Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.
The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.
Contact our team for more information on oral health or to schedule a visit today.
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Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans, rivers and lakes. Fluoride is also added to some community tap water, toothpastes and mouth rinses. Infants and toddlers who do not receive an adequate amount of fluoride may be at an increased risk for tooth decay since fluoride helps make tooth enamel more resistant to decay. It also helps repair weakened enamel. Bottled water may not contain fluoride; therefore, children who regularly drink bottled water or unfluoridated tap water may be missing the benefits of fluoride. If you are not sure if your tap water has fluoride, contact your local or state health department or water supplier.
There is an emphasis on flossing because we know where the real dental problems in children start, and we know what it will take to repair the damage of decay between the baby teeth. (They are only called baby teeth because you get them as a baby. They have to last until early teens.)
I wish I could tell you it’s unusual to see 4 or 5 year old children with decay between their molars, but it’s not. And it’s not just children who eat candy or sticky sweets or don’t have their teeth brushed. There are factors you can control like flossing and diet.
The best way to give your child this habit is to introduce it right from the start and BE CONSISTENT.
The short answer is “First visit by first birthday.” That’s the view of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Pediatricians agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who are at risk of early childhood cavities visit a pediatric dentist by age 1.
The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than 1 in 4 children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many kids get cavities as early as age 2.
To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems.
But cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. The age 1 dental visit lets parents discuss: *How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth *Proper use of fluoride *Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking *Ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth *Teething and milestones of development *The link between diet and oral health
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•Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
•Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
•For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
•For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.