Begin using toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth when he (or she) is 2 years old. Be careful to use only a small dab of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). Young children tend to swallow toothpaste when brushing, rather than spitting it out. Introduce fluoride toothpaste when your child is old enough not to swallow it. As soon as two teeth touch each other, floss between them once a day. You can use regular floss or special plastic floss holders.
At some point, your child will want to brush his or her own teeth. It’s fine to give him a turn. But afterwards, you should always brush your child’s teeth a second time. Most children won’t be able to brush their teeth well on their own until they are about 8 years old.
Sealants are thin, plastic coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
Sealants are put on in dentists’ offices, clinics, and sometimes in schools.
Sealants can last up to 10 years. But they need to be checked at regular dental check-ups to make sure they are not chipped or worn away. The dentist can repair sealants by adding more sealant material.
Sealing one tooth usually costs less than filling one tooth.
Having sealants put on healthy teeth now will save you money in the long run by avoiding fillings, crowns, or caps used to fix decayed teeth.
But the most important reason for getting sealants is to avoid tooth decay. Healthy teeth can last a lifetime!
Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in — before decay attacks the teeth.
When detected early, cavities found in primary (baby) teeth can be easily filled by a general dentist or pediatric dentist. Cavities can be very painful, so it’s essential to have them treated right away.
Early childhood caries are completely avoidable with the help of parents and dentists. A healthy lifestyle and great oral health habits will help ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles.