Building long-term relationships with anyone takes time. That’s true for married couples. It’s true for co-workers, and it’s true for patients and their dentists.
At Bayou Dental Group, one of our favorite parts of our practice pediatric care. By getting to know your kids, we hope to build relationships that will help them maintain good oral health for life.
Also, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. During this month, the American Dental Association encourages everyone to remember the importance of dental health, no matter how young you are.
Below, you will find information about oral care for everyone from newborns to teenagers.
One important tip for anyone is to make regular cleanings and examinations a part of your routine oral care. And if you live in or near Monroe, LA, we hope we can be the family dentist office that provides that care.
Oral Care For Infants And Toddlers
Did you know that you should be providing oral care even before you baby’s first tooth emerges? At this stage, you are trying to keep your baby’s gums clean. After a feeding, you can wipe his or her mouth with a moist cloth or a piece of gauze.
When his or her first tooth erupts, then you should begin brushing your baby’s tooth (and it will be teeth before long). At this stage, you need a child-sized toothbrush and a squeeze of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Twice each day, you should gently brush your child’s tooth/teeth.
According to the ADA, it’s a good idea for parents to brush their children’s teeth up until age 3.
Once your child has teeth, then he or she can develop cavities. We know that you don’t want that to happen. That’s why we encourage you to bring your child for his or her first dental visit either six months after his or first tooth appears or around his or her first birthday.
Ages 3 To 6
If he or she hasn’t already, your child is likely to start showing more independence. This is also when your child should start brushing his or her own teeth.
Your child should use a toothbrush that feel comfortable with a squeeze of toothpaste about the size of a pea.
While you want your child to brush on his or her own, it’s a good idea for parents to supervise the process. You want your child to brush his or her teeth for two minutes each time, twice each day.
One way to help your child brush for the right amount of time is to download an app for your smartphone or tablet. A few examples that are available through iTunes and the Google Play store are Disney Magic Timer, Brush DJ, and Aquafresh Brush Time.
You could also use something as simple as a stopwatch or a cooking timer can be used to encourage your child to brush for a full two minutes.
You also want to make sure your child brushes his or her teeth on all sides, and you want to make sure that he or she does not swallow the toothpaste.
Your child should be making regular visits to our dentist office by this time. A dental hygienist will clean your child’s teeth, and we will take X-rays to monitor your child’s progress.
We can also provide fluoride treatments to help strengthen his or her enamel.
Ages 7 To 12
Two major things will happen at this stage. Your child should be brushing and flossing on his or her own, and you child’s baby teeth will start falling.
Now, you may want to supervise your child’s brushing from time to time, just to make sure he or she is brushing correctly.
While visits from the tooth fairy will be important to your child, it’s also important to come to our office. We will closely monitor how you son or daughter’s permanent teeth are coming in.
We want to make sure those adult teeth have room to grow. If we see problems, we will want to intervene early. This could prevent or minimize the orthodontic care that may be needed later.
As your child gets his or her permanent teeth, it also may be a good idea to ask about sealants. As we know, kids don’t always eat as healthy as we would like. Sealants provide an extra layer of protection against cavities.
The Teenage Years
A lot of things will be happening during this time. When you child’s teeth have come in, it may be time to consider orthodontic care.
Braces and other orthodontic treatments can correct issues with your teenager’s bite. This may be an overbite or underbite, or it may be crooked or crowded teeth. It also could be gaps in your teen’s teeth.
In any case, these problems can be corrected with orthodontics.
It’s also possible that your teen may need his or her wisdom teeth extracted. Wisdom teeth sometimes become impacted, which can increase the risk of infection or cause the wisdom teeth to push into his or her other teeth.
In any case, we can keep an eye on this situation with regular visits to our office.
At Bayou Dental Group, we strive to be a kid-friendly dentist office. Our staff enjoys being around and working with children. We want to be a dentist office for the whole family from the time you child gets his or her first tooth until you celebrate your 102nd birthday.
We always look forward to seeing you and your smiles.