The summer days are passing by, and it is almost time to start a new school year. As you prepare your children for back to school, the health of their teeth and gums may not be be on the top of your list, but good smiles denote: friendliness, good overall health, and confidence. Here are some suggestions that will help in maintaining healthy smiles:
Daily Oral Care Practices
Educating our children at a young age on oral health practices is key in prevention of decay and gum disease. Here are some recommendations:
Brushing morning and at bedtime with a soft-bristle brush. We recommend using a timer for 2 minutes. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it is recommended that children be assisted with brushing until the age of 8. At the very least, an inspection by the parent is very helpful. Children may swallow some toothpaste when brushing, these are the recommended amounts of toothpaste based on age: A smear or rice size amount of children’s fluoridated toothpaste is for children less than three years of age, and a pea-size amount for children three to six years old.
Floss to clean between teeth and remove the plaque a toothbrush can’t reach. Initial supervision by a parent is necessary. There are special flossers with handles to help reach between molars.
Healthy snacks are just as important as a good daily hygiene routine. Here are some ideas for healthy options for your child’s teeth: string cheese, fruits, veggies, yogurt, hummus, almonds. Try to avoid sticky snacks such as fruit snacks (fruit roll-ups) and gummies, these can stick to your child’s teeth and may lead to tooth decay.
It is recommended to limit juice. Provide at most 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3; for children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces. Encourage water intake.
Schedule a Dental Check-up
Children starting kindergarten or in their first year of public school must have a dental check-up by May 31, according to California law. A check-up/oral health assessment is important for children of all ages and helps to ensure healthy smiles. Undetected dental problems may be identified before
they become big concerns. Dental disease may result in infection/ pain that makes it difficult for children to eat, speak, and learn in school. Missing days from school as a result of dental disease may be prevented.
For more pediatric dental tips or to schedule your child’s appointment contact us at Pediatric Dental Specialists Long Beach (www.lbpds.net) Phone 562-377-1375