2023 brings with it renewed energy and motivation to take better care of our health. For your child, setting oral health goals can help their developing smile stay on track for healthy teeth and gums as they grow. Our pediatric team has some recommendations to help make your child’s oral health a priority that will serve them for years to come!
It’s important to supplement their at-home daily oral hygiene care by bringing them in for routine dental cleanings and exams. Another way to boost their dental health is by protecting their molars with dental sealants applied to them. This easy, painless treatment keeps permanent molars, which are notoriously difficult to reach and clean, strong, and protected from decay, and can last for up to 10 years! Our team will check the sealed tooth during their regular cleanings to make sure they aren’t chipped or worn down.
Smile Worthy Goals for 2023
- Limiting sugary foods and drinks. Unfortunately, sodas, juices, and sports drinks are often loaded with sugar which feeds the oral bacteria that causes tooth enamel erosion and decay. Since starchy foods also feed bacteria, it is a good idea to limit them as well. Encouraging your child to drink more milk and water will strengthen their teeth and bones while producing healthy saliva levels that combat harmful bacteria.
- Helping them brush and floss daily. You’ll want to show your child how to clean every tooth, their gums (and even their tongue) to remove harmful bacteria. This is also something we can show your child how best to do when they come in for routine checkups. Their smiles are often the first thing people notice about them, so giving them the tools they need to achieve their best smile is essential. You generally want to get them into the habit of brushing when they wake up and when they go to bed. Even better is if your child brushes after every meal, and at the very least, rinse well with water after eating. Flossing cleans the “rest” of their tooth surfaces and should begin once your child has two teeth touching each other (where bacteria can hide and attack tooth enamel).
- Getting dental sealants. Our pediatric team recommends children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars once these pearly whites arrive. This makes a big difference to their dental health because the protective sealant layer shields the teeth from cavities that tend to show up from ages 6 to 14. We might also recommend dental sealants for baby teeth when these teeth have deep depressions and grooves that are challenging to clean. Baby teeth are actually very important to your child’s smile because they hold space for the incoming permanent teeth that will arrive later on.
Dental Sealant Steps
Applying a dental sealant for your child’s molars is simple, painless and fairly quick:
1. We thoroughly clean and dry the molars before their sealant is applied.
2. Next, we place an absorbent material around the tooth to keep it dry.
3. An acid solution is then placed onto the chewing surfaces of the molars to make them feel “rough” so the sealant can properly adhere to the tooth’s surface.
4. We then rinse and dry the tooth (or teeth).
5. Finally, we paint the sealant onto the tooth enamel so it can bond directly to the tooth and harden with the help of a curing light.
Keeping your child’s smile safe sets the stage for them to have strong teeth and gums that they learn how to maintain throughout their lives. By bringing them in for routine dental exams and cleanings, you are helping them maintain their oral health and develop self-confidence for a lifetime of smiles!