The Importance of Your Child’s Dental Hygiene

by DR. SHIKHA BATRA, DMD

With February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, the American Dental Association and Michigan Dental Association encourage parents to promote good oral health habits to children. In addition to scheduling routine dental cleaning and checkups, parents can also reinforce many daily routines to ensure healthier mouths and teeth for their youngsters.

Simple dental routines such as brushing twice a day, teaching your child how to brush, flossing, rinsing with daily fluoride, or drinking water after not-so-healthy-snacks (aka-sugars) can make all of the difference in a child’s overall oral health.

Brushing properly at least twice a day ensures that the plaque and bacteria which formulates through the course of the day or night is adequately removed. Flossing teeth (yes, even children’s teeth) allows plaque and bacteria to be removed from in between teeth surfaces.

These are areas that a toothbrush is unable to aid when cleaning teeth. If plaque and/or bacteria is allowed to remain in between or on teeth surfaces for a long enough period of time, it will invade teeth thus resulting in caries or cavities. These cavities must then be treated by your dentist to halt this process. It is important to also note that since children teeth are approximately a quarter of the size of adult teeth, cavities form and spread much more quickly than in adult teeth.

Rinsing with a daily home fluoride helps in re-strengthening the damage that plaque and bacteria may cause through the course of the day. There are also many great kids flavors available on the market which helps to encourage this activity.

It is important to note that fluoride is a sort of vitamin for teeth and must be allowed to sit on teeth surfaces for at least a half an hour. This means that children may not drink or eat anything for at least a half an hour after the fluoride is applied to teeth. For a kid, this can be quite a tricky task. Professional recommendations are usually made to make the fluoride rinse or application the last activity of the night, before your child goes to sleep.

Last, but not least, you can help your child to maintain great oral health simply drinking water after sugary snacks. Really, drinking water after any type of food is always a good idea. Water is one of the easiest ways to cleanse not only your mouth, but your whole body too. With so many alternatives to good old water, we surely do not utilize this liquid gold nearly enough. Water certainly helps to wash anything that may be stuck to teeth after snacking or eating. So the next time your children finish a snack or meal, offer them some water to wash it down.

These are just a few examples of how you can encourage your children to maintain excellent oral health in your home. The health and welfare of your children is an investment that every parent should make. Start with sharing some of these ideas during National Children’s Dental Health Month. Also, do not forget to schedule a professional appointment for your children with your dental health care provider!

Dr. Shikha Batra recently moved her practice to a new state of the art facility. Troy Dental Studio is located at 3960 Crooks Road, just south of Wattles. For more information, call 248-362-1100 or email info@troydentalstudio.com