Dental prevention is just as important for children as it is for adults. Having a child start going to the dentist at an early age and regularly is a very important step in a lifetime of preventative dentistry. A typical program for children contains many steps, both in and out of the dental office.

These steps include:

1. Brushing, flossing and oral habits.
2. Application of fluorides and sealants.
3. Monitoring the child’s dental development.
4. Sports safety.
5. Parent involvement and proper diet.

A healthy smile in a child can be maintained using preventative dentistry. Children with healthy teeth chew their food properly, and learn to talk more clearly and quickly. Preventative dentistry also minimizes future costly and extensive dental treatment for your child.

During your child’s visit to the dentist, his or her teeth will be carefully examined and any dental issues diagnosed and treated. If necessary, the dentist will apply fluoride treatment and dental sealants to help protect the teeth from tooth decay. The dentist will also address any orthodontics concerns.

Tooth cleaning, fluoride and polishing are just a few parts of an entire prevention program for children. A pediatric dentist will also provide the application of dental sealants where necessary to protect children’s teeth from decay, custom fit mouth guards to protect the teeth and mouth when playing in sports, and monitor your child’s dental development as she or he grows. A pediatric dentist is specifically trained to create a combination of home and office preventative care to make sure a child maintains a healthy, happy smile.

Teeth brushing involves many different elements

Perhaps the most basic is proper tooth brushing which involves a toothbrush with soft bristles, toothpaste with fluoride, the correct angle of brushing, and brushing in a pattern. Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your brushing sessions.

It’s important to brush at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush. The flexible bristles of a soft toothbrush are gentler on the gums and make it much easier to remove the plaque below the gum line, where periodontal disease starts.

Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride hardens the outer enamel layer of the teeth. It might stop a cavity in its tracks and give you more resistance to future cavities.

Angle the bristles of the brush along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Apply firm but gentle pressure so the bristles slide under the gum line.

Move the brush over the entire surface of two or three teeth at a time in small, circular motions. Allow some overlap as you move to the next teeth. Tilt the brush and use the tip to brush the backs of the front teeth.

It’s fine to brush in any regular pattern you choose, but since the insides of the teeth tend to get less attention, you might start with the insides of the upper teeth, then go to the insides of the lower teeth. Switch to the outsides of the upper teeth, and then the outsides of the lower teeth. Brush the chewing surfaces of the upper teeth, then the lower teeth. End by gently brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth. This removes germs to help keep your breath fresh.

Besides brushing the next step in proper oral care is flossing. Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.

To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique:

  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with.
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth.