- An oral evaluation is recommended no later than the age of 1. In most cases this assessment is done by the Pediatrician, if there is any area of concern contact the family dentist.
- By the age of six, most children will have their first set of permanent molars, as well as start losing their baby teeth. Routine checkups are recommended twice a year starting from the age of three. These appointments will help maintain optimal overall health, by assessing any risk factors that can lead to cavities, gingival diseases and malocclusion. At these appointments, an exam, cleaning, fluoride treatment and possibly x-rays will be performed. Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens teeth and helps fight tooth decay. X-rays allow for areas that are not visible clinically to be assessed, it is recommended that periodically unseen areas are evaluated. Other preventative measures such as sealing molars that have deep grooves on the chewing surfaces may be recommended. Sealants are a plastic white material that adheres directly onto the teeth preventing plaque and acids from embedding itself in the grooves of the teeth.
- Frequent snacking increases the risk for developing decay. Limit sugary snacks and drinks to meal time. In between meals healthier snacks such as fresh fruit, vegetables, dry cereals and other non-sticky foods are recommended. Consuming plenty of water and chewing sugar-free gum are natural and easy ways to help the oral cavity self cleanse throughout the day.
- Teeth should be brushed with a soft bristle brush and water as soon as they erupt in the mouth.
- Children 2 years of age and older, should brush twice a day with a pea size amount of fluoridated tooth paste. An adult should monitor this practice to make sure that the toothpaste is not being consumed and assist with the technique for children 2-7 years of age. Flossing once a day is recommended once the child's teeth start making contact. Children should always use the proper size children's toothbrush with soft bristles, and replace it every 3-4 months, or after a cold or infectious virus.
This article was written by Mariely Nicasio RDH.