We all want to teach our kids to eat right, be active, and have healthy bodies. But how do we make sure their oral health keeps up? If you want your children to have strong teeth and disease-free gums well into adulthood, it’s important to begin caring for their mouths while they are still in the crib. Make the effort to instill good oral hygiene habits and protect your kids’ teeth while they are young. It will pay off for the rest of their lives.
At Masterpiece Smiles of Tulsa, OK, we see patients of all ages. Call us at (918) 992-4139 to schedule an appointment for your little ones (or anyone in the family).
Regular Checkups Are Essential
The twice-yearly checkup is the foundation for good oral health. At Masterpiece Smiles, Dr. Cobble likes to see children come in for their first visit by the age of three, by which time most teeth have grown in. These first visits are as much about acclimating young children to the experience of going to the dentist as they are about examining teeth. Our goal is to make children feel comfortable and happy in the dentist’s chair — even if that means saving the cleaning for another visit. Because a positive association with the dentist is the most important factor in encouraging a lifelong dental habit.
Be Vigilant at Home
Good oral hygiene at home is just as important as those twice-yearly dental visits. And it starts even before baby’s first tooth comes in!
- Wiping your baby’s gums with a soft cloth at bathtime serves two purposes: it gets baby accustomed to the feeling of having his mouth cleaned, and it cleans away bacteria that could harm any emerging teeth.
- Never let babies or toddlers fall asleep with bottles of juice, milk, or formula in their cribs. This can lead to baby bottle mouth, or decay of the baby teeth.
- To encourage reluctant brushers, allow them to pick out their own toothbrush and try to make brushing fun. Play music or show clips of favorite TV shows centered around brushing teeth.
- Older children need to to be supervised while brushing their teeth until they can reliably do so without swallowing toothpaste.
- Make sure school-aged children have a consistent routine of brushing twice per day and flossing at least once each day. Don’t let oral hygiene fall through the cracks on those hectic school mornings!
- Keep your kitchen clear of chewy candies, fruit snacks and rollups, and other foods that get stuck in teeth and lead to decay. Minimize your child’s intake of juice, soda, and sugary flavored milks.
Sealants Stave off Decay
Think of sealants as protective coatings for the teeth — because, well, that’s exactly what they are. Sealants are thin layers of plastic applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They are barriers that protect these areas from decay-causing bacteria and have been shown to significantly reduce children’s chances of getting cavities. Ideally, kids should get sealants when their permanent molars and premolars come in.
The process is fast and painless. The teeth are cleaned, and an acidic solution is applied first. This gives the tooth a little surface roughness so the sealant sticks. The tooth is washed and dried once again, and the sealant is painted onto the tooth. Once hardened, the sealant can protect the tooth for years.
Mouthguards Protect from Injury
Some schools require mouthguards for certain sports, but this appliance is a smart investment for any active child (and adult, for that matter). While you can get off-the-shelf mouthguards at stores, these tend to be ill fitting and less comfortable.
At Masterpiece Smiles, we can provide your child with a custom-made mouthguard that not only protects his or her mouth, but is crafted to maximize performance as well. Our lab can design the mouthguard to provide its wearer with ideal oxygen intake.
At Masterpiece Smiles, we believe that good oral care from the start can prevent a host of problems from occurring later in life. If you would like to schedule an appointment, or have a question about protective measures like mouthguards and sealants, call our Tulsa, OK office at (918) 992-4139. Or fill out our online contact form.