Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN
Trick-or-treating for Halloween candy caps off the month of October for most children, with the sugary holiday comes the potential for something much scarier than plastic lawn ghosts—cavities and dental bills.
Whether your children are consuming large quantities of sugary treats or not, maintaining dental hygiene is an important habit to teach children. The best time to instill good dental habits is when your child is still young:
- Begin teeth-cleaning as soon as teeth appear in your infant’s mouth; this may include using a soft cloth to wipe your child’s gums.
- Start brushing when your child’s first teeth appear.
- Begin using toothpaste around age 2, but check with your doctor for specific recommendations.
- Floss for your child starting at age 4.
- Teach your child to brush for him- or herself around age 6 or 7, although you will likely need to continue supervising.
- Teach your child to floss by age 8.
Why Are Clean Teeth Important?
Sugar from food is left in the mouth and on teeth, fueling the formation of plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria that covers the teeth and gums and can cause gum disease and tooth decay. Brushing and flossing removes plaque and keeps your teeth strong.
- Brush teeth twice a day, making sure the inner, outer and chewing surfaces of the teeth, as well as the tongue, are cleaned.
- Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
- Floss at least daily.
Professional Care Recommendations
The ADA recommends that a child have his or her first dental visit within six months of the first tooth coming in, but no later than his or her first birthday. Preventing dental problems is always easier than correcting them, and your dentist can also offer suggestions for daily dental care.
After that first visit, dental visits should become a routine part of your child’s health care, with a dental visit typically occurring every six months. If you anticipate your child being anxious about the first dental visit, have him or her come along and observe your visit beforehand so he or she knows what to expect.