Test Your Knowledge-Keeping Your Young Child’s Teeth Healthy

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

All parents want their children to have healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Keeping teeth healthy begins at a very young age. Take this true/false test to learn more.

1. Parents should begin cleaning their child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.

TRUE-You should begin cleaning your baby’s teeth right from the start. When the first tooth appears, you can use a soft damp cloth, or an extra-soft bristle brush, (no toothpaste). This performs two functions. It keeps the baby’s teeth clean, and it helps the baby become accustomed to having his mouth cleaned.

2. Parents should brush their child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

FALSE-While fluoride toothpaste is of significant value in reducing cavities, a young child may swallow the paste instead of spitting it out. Refrain from using fluoride toothpaste until your child is old enough to understand that she should not swallow the paste. (This may be around 2 or 3 years of age.) Also-keep fluoride toothpaste or any other products containing fluoride out of your child’s reach. Many of these items have pleasant flavorings and your child may think they are “treats”. Think of fluoride as you would any medication. You would not leave children’s pain-relievers where your child could get to them. Pain relievers are of significant value when used correctly, but they can also be dangerous! Used correctly, fluoride has helped millions of people avoid tooth decay. However, too much can be harmful.

3. Use enough fluoride toothpaste to “cover” the top of the toothbrush.

FALSE- Once a child is old enough for fluoride toothpaste, use only a pea-sized amount on the brush.

4. Parents should encourage their young children to brush twice a day.

FALSE-Parents should take charge of brushing their child’s teeth until he or she is old enough to do it adequately. While each child is different, this might not be until age 6 or 7. Young children do not have the coordination to brush their teeth correctly and may simply be swishing the brush around the mouth. Also, because we know that two-minutes is the minimum amount of time for adequate brushing; enforcing this may be difficult with a very young child. When the parent decides that the child is ready to begin taking on brushing, the parent may allow the child to brush alone in the morning, but brush her teeth for her at night. In this way, food debris and plaque is removed before the child goes to sleep, and therefore is not allowed to do its’ damage during the nighttime hours.

5. Parents should avoid putting a baby to bed with a bottle.

TRUE-Allowing a child to fall asleep with a bottle can be extremely harmful to her teeth. In fact, there is a term for the rampant tooth destruction that this can cause; “baby bottle syndrome”. When a child falls to sleep with a mouth coated with milk, formula, juice, or any other sweetened liquid, bacterial invasion of the teeth is assured and cavities will develop. This is painful and unsightly and a very bad way for a child to start off in life.

6. Sucking on hard sugared candy, chewing sugared gum, and drinking sugared soft drinks cause tooth decay.

TRUE- This is an easy one. The presence of sugar in the mouth provides an environment that bacteria love. The longer the sugar is present in the mouth, the more the bacteria can grow. The teeth literally receive a “sugar bath” when a child is sucking on candy or chewing sugar gum. This is why a diet consisting of large amounts of sugar contributes to tooth decay, among other problems. If you give your child sweets, have him at least rinse his mouth afterwards. (Brushing is best).

These tips are just a few of the ways you can help your child grow up with healthy teeth.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

  • Brooke Fraser