Early Dental Care
There is more to keeping your child’s mouth healthy than just brushing. To keep your child’s teeth and mouth healthy for a lifetime of use, there are steps that you should follow as a parent.
- Understand your child’s oral health needs.
Talk with Dr. Greenleaf or staff /hygienist at Mobile Pediatric Dentistry about any special conditions in your child’s mouth and any ways in which their medical/health conditions affect their teeth or oral health. For example, cerebal palsy, cancer treatments, heart diseases, diabetes, dental appliances (space maintainers, braces) can all impact oral health and may necessitate a change in the care of teeth. Be sure to tell your Dr. Greenleaf if your child has experienced a change in their general health or in any medications they are taking since their last dental visit.
- Develop a daily oral health routine with your child.
Based on discussions between Dr. Greenleaf, his staff and you regarding your child’s health conditions; you can develop an oral health routine for your family that is easy to follow on a daily basis. For example, people with special conditions and diabetes, may require additional instruction and perhaps treatments to keep their mouth healthy. Make sure you understand the additional care and/or treatment that is your child may need, commit to the extra tasks, and work them into your child’s daily health routine.
- Use fluoride.
Children and adults benefit from fluoride use. Fluoride strengthens developing teeth in children and prevents tooth decay in both children and adults. Toothpastes and mouth rinses contain fluoride. Fluoride levels in tap water may not be high enough without supplementation to prevent tooth decay. Contact your water utility to determine the level for your area. Talk with us about your fluoride needs. Ask if fluoride supplements or a higher strength, prescription fluoride product is necessary for you.
- Brush and floss daily.
Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day (morning and before bed time) and floss at least once a day. Better still, brush after every meal and snack. These activities remove plaque, which if not removed, combines with sugars to form acids that lead to tooth decay. Bacterial plaque also causes gum disease and other periodontal diseases. Your child should not be tasked with brushing unaided until they can write their name in cursive.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit snacking.
Eat a variety of foods, but eat fewer foods that contain sugars and starches (for example, cookies, cakes, pies, candies, ice cream, dried fruits and raisins, soft drinks, potato chips). These foods produce the most acids in the mouth, which begin the decay process. If you must snack, brush your teeth afterward or chew sugarless gum. Do not buy products that have ingredients that end in “ose”, that is added sugar. And yes that goes for gummie vitamins.
- Examine your child’s mouth regularly.
When it comes to children, just “Lift the Lip” and look. On a regular basis lift the upper lip and look in your child’s mouth. Look for the development of any spots, lesions, cuts, swellings, or growths on their gums, tongue, cheeks, inside of lips, and floor and roof of the mouth. Examine their teeth for any signs of chipping or cracking, discoloration, and looseness.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
The standard recommendation is to visit your dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. Talk with your dentist about the frequency that is best for you.
- Develop a partnership with your dentist.
Make us your dental home. We love children and dentistry can be fun if the proper trust and rapport is established between Dr. Greenleaf, his staff and your child. Don't be afraid to ask your Dr. Greenleaf for more information if you don't understand a treatment or procedure. You should be able to have a free and frank discussion with Dr. Greenleaf and Staff at Mobile Pediatric Dentistry.