Here at Smile Studio, we believe that the healthiest smiles begin with a child’s parents! That’s why our team is committed to educating parents and caretakers about dental health with kindness and understanding. We know that it can sometimes feel like a challenge to help your child maintain a healthy mouth, but you can count on us to simplify the process as much as possible!
We’re proud to offer dental and orthodontic services to kids in our community, giving them a headstart on a lifetime of beautiful smiles. A big part of that is preventative care. The earlier your child begins regular dental visits, the less likely they are to have issues as they grow. To learn more about what’s included in preventative dentistry and how it can help your child’s smile through the years, keep reading below!
Expert guidance on oral hygiene
One of the easiest ways to help your child avoid tooth decay is by helping them develop healthy oral habits. Begin building a dental hygiene routine early, and ensure that it includes:
- brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time
- flossing every night before bed
- dental checkups twice a year
- a healthy diet with minimal sugar
- fluoride treatments
Children under three years old need adult supervision to clean their teeth properly, which can be accomplished with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Children older than that can brush their teeth with parental supervision. We actually encourage this, as it helps them become confident in their dental habits! Most kids should use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. They should also spit any excess toothpaste out rather than swallow it.
Before bedtime, help your child floss their teeth. If they struggle with guiding regular dental floss, dental floss picks can be useful! These dental tools are easily available and easy for small hands to handle. They come in bright colors and various flavors to make flossing much more appealing to younger patients.
Dental visits with Dr. Carter
You should schedule your child’s first dental visit once their first teeth appear or no later than their first birthday if possible. These visits give kids a chance to get comfortable with our team, familiarize themselves with our office, and allow us to monitor their dental development as they grow. This means we can diagnose and treat potential problems before they become more serious.
Your child’s first dental visit with Dr. Carter will usually be brief. There will be little or no treatment involved. He’ll perform a comprehensive examination, checking the teeth for decay and examining your child’s bite. He’ll also be looking for any potential problems with the gums, jaw, or oral tissues. Once this exam is complete, Dr. Carter will discuss a range of topics with you. These will normally include:
- how to develop good oral hygiene practices
- the benefits of fluoride
- oral habits to avoid (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and lip sucking)
- the developmental milestones and potential issues you should be aware of
- information on teething
- tips on proper nutrition
- when to schedule future dental checkups
We’ll also quickly clean your child’s teeth and apply a fluoride varnish before this initial visit concludes.
Regular checkups as your child grows
Regular visits to the dentist are essential for maintaining a child’s oral health! As they grow, you should plan on scheduling dental checkups with us every six months or so. We will complete an oral examination at each of these appointments, clean your child’s teeth thoroughly, and apply fluoride. These visits help us get to know the families we serve, something we love! They also give us the chance to offer guidance on maintaining a healthy smile at home.
Professional teeth cleanings and polishing treatments are part of every preventive program. These are typically done during the child’s dental checkup. When your child visits our Zachary office, Dr. Carter will use a special paste to remove any plaque and visible staining while polishing the teeth. Additional scaling is sometimes needed to remove tartar and any build-ups that have accumulated over time. Cleaning will always include flossing in between the teeth and a fluoride application to help protect the tooth structure from cavities.
Fluoride helps a child’s developing teeth grow strong and can also prevent tooth decay in older children. Regular use hardens the tooth enamel, which makes it more difficult for acid to penetrate. Research has shown that frequent fluoride applications dramatically decrease the risk for cavities!
Although fluoridated drinking water is the best and easiest way to get it, not all areas require their tap water to be fluoridated. If your water supply is not fluoridated or your child prefers to drink bottled water, fluoride supplements may be needed. During your child’s check-ups, Dr. Carter will evaluate the fluoride level in their primary water source to determine their individual needs.
Toothpaste and rinses that contain fluoride will not fully protect a child’s teeth. Always check with Dr. Carter before trying fluoride supplements, as overuse can discolor your child’s teeth.
A sealant is a composite material we apply to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. This is where the majority of cavities in children end up forming. The sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque, and acid, helping protect areas of the teeth prone to decay. They can be an excellent tool for preventive care, and we recommend them often for permanent teeth that are free from decay. However, cavities between the teeth will not be protected by sealants, so regular brushing and flossing are still necessary.
Boost your child’s oral health with Smile Studio
When you trust your child’s smile to our practice, you can be sure they’ll receive the highest level of personalized care in a welcoming environment. Our expert team will educate you both on the basics of oral care, normal dental development, and how to keep their smile healthy and happy through the years!
We make dental visits something to look forward to, so if your child is ready for their first dental visit or in need of a routine check-up, get in touch today! We’ll be happy to get it scheduled for you.