Oral Hygiene for Kids

Kids and dental hygiene.

From Your East Lansing Pediatric Dentist

At Dr. Jacob Myers, it’s our goal to give each child the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles. As your trusted pediatric dentist in East Lansing, MI, we believe in setting your child up for dental success through our dental treatments and our commitment to patient care and encouragement of healthy habits. The earlier that great oral hygiene habits are learned, the more likely it is that a child will adhere to them and have healthy teeth that can last a lifetime.
 
One of the major causes of dental problems is tooth decay, an infectious disease that’s caused by bacteria. It can form a cavity in the tooth enamel before progressing deeper into the roots. This can cause pain and will eventually require a filling or a root canal treatment. Thankfully, tooth decay is preventable through proper oral hygiene; these are our recommendations for children as they grow older.

Babies

Age one dental visit video

Babies can form a type of tooth decay that’s known as early childhood caries. This can occur when they go to sleep while sucking on a bottle that’s filled with milk, formula, juice, or just about anything that’s not water. The sugars in these liquids will pool around the teeth and feed decay-causing bacteria. When it’s time for bed, the best option is either a pacifier or a bottle filled with water. At the age of three, it’s best to wean your child off sucking habits in order to prevent future orthodontic problems from developing.
 
To maintain proper oral hygiene for your baby, you’ll want to brush his or her first teeth gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush after applying a thin strip of fluoride toothpaste. Do this at least once a day before bedtime. Before a tooth is fully emerged, you can use a water-soaked gauze pad to clean the area around the tooth and the gums. Make sure to bring your baby in to see us before the age of one. We can teach you proper hygiene techniques, look for signs of tooth decay, and recommend fluoride supplementation if it happens to be needed.

Children

Tooth tips for tots video

At the age of two, you can start to teach children about brushing, but they’ll still need your help with this until they reach they’re about the age of six, where they will then have the motor skills capable of doing the task effectively. You should also take the time to instill healthy dietary habits in your children as well. Your child will have less plaque buildup and decay when he or she eats less sugary snacks and drinks less soda. Limiting these foods will ensure that your child isn’t creating favorable conditions for oral bacteria to grow.
 
When your child comes in for his or her twice-yearly dental checkups, we will clean the teeth in addition to providing a number of other helpful dental services. We can apply topical fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay and erosion. We can also apply sealants to the back teeth to keep tiny food particles from getting trapped in the grooves of those teeth.

Teens

At this point, your children will be the ones mainly responsible for their oral and dental health – but that doesn’t mean you can’t still encourage them! Keep helping them make healthy choices such as the following:

  • Brush at least twice a day.

  • Avoid acidic drinks such as soda and energy drinks.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Refrain from drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco.

  • Visit the dentist for regular checkups and teeth cleanings.

 

Contact Your East Lansing, MI Pediatric Dentist Today!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for your child, we encourage you to give us a call at (517) 337-0032 or fill out our online appointment request form. We can’t wait to help your child on the path to a lifetime of healthy smiles!

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