Have your child’s baby teeth just come in? This is an exciting milestone for both parents and their little ones. This is also a telltale sign that it’s time to find a dentist…but not just any dentist. You want a pediatric dentist who understands the importance of providing gentle, understanding and preventative kid-friendly care. Here in Post Falls, ID, board-certified pediatric dentist Dr. Brad Barlow and his dental team at Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry make it easy for children of all ages to get the preventive care they need the minute teeth start to come in.
Preventive care is an important part of your child’s oral health. How you care for their teeth and gums can either provide them with what they need for perfect long-term oral health or cause problems down the road. The goals of our dental team are to arm parents with knowledge about how to care for their child’s developing smile, as well as provide custom preventive dentistry to children as they continue to grow and develop.
Cavities are little holes in teeth that can eventually cause big problems. They form when tooth-eroding acid attacks a tooth's protective outer covering (enamel). This acid mainly comes from two sources: your diet, and certain oral bacteria that thrive in the absence of effective oral hygiene. If cavities are not treated promptly, decay-causing bacteria can get further into the tooth, leading eventually to root-canal problems and even tooth loss. The good news is that cavities are completely preventable — meaning it is truly possible to keep all of your natural teeth for life! Here are our top three tips to keep decay away:
Brush & Floss Every Day
Cavity prevention starts with a good oral hygiene routine. This will remove dental plaque — a sticky film that harbors food particles and harmful bacteria. Flossing is particularly important because a toothbrush can't reach in between the teeth the way floss can. Make sure to floss both sides of every tooth, including the back molars, at least once each day. Brush your teeth at least twice each day, using a toothpaste that contains fluoride — a mineral that can become part of your tooth enamel and actually repair tiny cavities that are starting to form.
Pay Attention to Your Diet
Certain foods and beverages are no friends to your teeth, and soda tops the list. Soda, sports drinks, and so-called “energy drinks” are all acidic — even the sugar-free varieties. The acids they contain attack tooth enamel and make your teeth more prone to decay. Fruit juices can also be very acidic. Drinking water is much better for your dental health, not only because it has a completely neutral pH (is non-acidic), but also because it helps replenish your saliva — which has natural cavity-fighting properties. Sugary and starchy foods (cookies, candy, donuts, and chips) are also a problem — especially when they are not promptly cleaned from your mouth. They nourish the oral bacteria that cause cavities and raise the acidity level in your mouth.
See Your Dentist Regularly
One of the major ways to prevent decay and gum disease in your child is to make sure they are coming in every six months for routine cleanings and exams. This is the best way for Dr. Barlow and his team to be able to thoroughly examine your child’s smile to make sure that they are reaching important developmental milestones. Furthermore, it provides your child with the preventive cleanings and care they need to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, which are responsible for cavities and gum disease.
Prevention is always better than treatment. Brush your teeth twice daily using any soft-bristled, ADA-approved tooth brush. We also recommend the use of modern electric tooth brushes such as Sonicare and Braun. Floss daily to remove plaque between teeth that you can't reach with regular brushing.
Always rinse thoroughly with water after brushing (or after meals if you are unable to brush). You may occasionally use a mouthwash to rinse. Children may benefit from the use of ACT fluoride rinse, to help prevent cavities from forming in between the teeth.
Your child’s first dental visit should occur not long after their first tooth erupts, or by their 1st birthday (whichever milestone happens first). From there on out, they should come in every six months for checkups. Our team also believes in educating parents on the best smile-friendly diets for children. This includes limiting sugar and certain drinks that can damage enamel and cause decay. We can also provide comprehensive guidelines on how to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Parents aren’t supposed to come equipped with this knowledge, but with the help of our dental team, we can get kids and parents on the right track to maintaining a healthy smile.
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Post Falls, ID, to provide your little one with
dental care throughout their childhood then call Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today at (208) 777-9331.