Dental Hygiene Care for Children

Did you know that it is just as important to care for primary teeth as it is to properly care for permanent teeth? Children’s dental health is essential to oral development. Left untreated, cavities in primary teeth can affect the permanent teeth below. Regular visits to the dentist are important for many reasons.

First, it is helpful to introduce your child to experiencing the dental office as early as possible, so that they don’t develop fears or anxiety surrounding dentistry. Secondly, regular dental appointments help to keep problems such as cavities at bay. You should start bringing your child to the dentist as soon as they have teeth!

At Smileworks, we see patients of all ages. Once your child turns six, they will begin to have many permanent teeth and hopefully they will have already been seeing the dentist regularly for a few years. At this point, your child will have a mix of permanent and primary teeth. Once the first molars in the back are fully erupted, your child’s dental hygienist or dentist can apply sealants to these permanent teeth.

Sealants are not fillings. Their purpose is prophylactic. Sealants aid in the prevention of decay on permanent molars. They are applied to the deep grooves on the occlusal surfaces of hard-to-reach permanent molars. Your child’s permanent second molars are expected to erupt fully around the age of twelve, and at that point those teeth will be eligible for sealants as well.

Most dental insurance companies will fully cover the cost of sealants on permanent molars only. This is a dental benefit that should be taken advantage of whenever possible. Even without dental insurance, the cost to have four molars sealed is less than the cost of filling one cavity.

Another important dental treatment for young patients is fluoride. Fluoride treatments can be done once or twice per year, normally at the end of your child’s regular dental visits. This treatment helps to strengthen your child’s enamel and further aid in protecting teeth from developing cavities. Children can also use fluorinated toothpaste and mouth rinse to further protect and prevent cavities.

All these dental treatments are helpful extra steps that can be taken to increase children’s dental health and oral hygiene. You must remember that there is most significance in the small, daily dental hygiene work. Above sealants and fluoride, twice daily tooth brushing and flossing are the most important dental habits you can teach your child as early as possible. Great oral hygiene starts at home.

The second most important dental habit is bringing your child to the dentist when they are young. Even if it seems like they don’t have enough teeth, or that their teeth are too small, if they have teeth they can come see the dentist. Regular dental visits are good for people of all ages. For children especially, visits to the dentist can create a familiarity and establish a comfortable relationship to dispel nerves that can commonly manifest around dental work and dentistry.