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Children’s Oral Health – An Overview for Parents

Were you aware that in the United States, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases in children? Cavities, also known as tooth decay, can cause extreme pain and even infection if gone untreated. According to the CDC, children with poor oral health miss more school and have lower grades than children with good oral health. This Children’s Dental Health Month, we hope to highlight the importance of dental health for children.

Although cavities are a health concern and should be taken seriously, the good news is that parents can take measures to prevent their children from getting them. Creating a routine with your child from early on is crucial to preventing cavities. Fluoride has proven to be a great preventative as it is packed with powerful minerals to strengthen the enamel and often even reverse early decay. Brushing daily with fluoridated toothpaste will prevent your child from having to deal with cavities. Fluoride varnish- A dental treatment to prevent decay- has also proven to avoid one-third of cavities.

Parents: If you are not sure how to get started on a healthy oral hygiene routine with your little one, continue reading to learn some beneficial tips for babies and older children.

Oral Hygiene Routine for Babies

  • Bacteria and sugar on your baby’s gums can ultimately cause cavities. We suggest that parents and caregivers wipe their baby’s gums twice a day with a very soft and clean cloth. The first cleaning should be in the morning after their first feed, and the second should be before going to bed in the evening.
  • When your child’s teeth begin to emerge, you should brush them twice a day with a very soft, bristled brush and plain water (no toothpaste).
  • Your baby should visit the dentist before their first birthday to ensure that their gums and teeth are healthy.
  • You may want to consider discussing fluoride varnish for your child with their dentist or doctor.

Be sure to always consult with your child’s pediatrician before following any of the recommendations listed above.

Oral Hygiene Routine for Children 

  • Brush their teeth twice a day (in the morning and before bed) and if they are old enough to do it themselves, watch them and ensure they are properly brushing.
  • Drink water that has fluoride in it. If you do not give your child water containing fluoride, talk to their pediatrician to discuss other alternatives.
  • Schedule routine dental visits (every six months), apply dental sealants when necessary, and address dental concerns as soon as they arise.

Your child should always be supervised while brushing their teeth until they have solid brushing skills. Be sure to always consult with your child’s pediatrician before following any of the recommendations listed above.

Good Dental Hygiene Should Start Before Your Child’s Birth

Pregnant women need to have good dental hygiene as being pregnant can make a woman prone to cavities and gum disease, negatively affecting a baby’s health. Pregnant women should:

  • See a dentist before they deliver.
  • Brush their teeth twice a day.
  • Floss their teeth daily.

Cavity Risk Factors 

Your child may be more prone to cavities if:

  • They wear oral appliances, such as braces.
  • They consume many sugary foods and drinks.
  • There is a history of cavities with close relatives, such as siblings and parents.
  • They have special health care needs.

At the office of Dr. Alfonso J. Henriquez, we understand the importance of having good oral hygiene. We want to assure your child’s overall dental health is in pristine condition and welcome all of your impending questions. To schedule an appointment or contact our office, please call 561-275-7100.





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