Taking care of your child's teeth is important because even "baby" teeth help your child chew food and speak clearly. Baby Teeth also hold space so permanent teeth can grow in straight. If you start your child off with good dental habits, your child will find it easier to keep those good habits forever.
You should start caring for your child's gums and teeth at birth by wiping your baby's gums with a soft, wet cloth after feeding. In children up to 4 years of age, use a small dab of children's flouride toothpaste.
Take your child for a first dental visit whitin six months of the first baby tooth and by no later that the first birthday. This gives the dentist a chance to look for early tooth problems and to talk to you about how to take care of your baby's teeth. It also helps your child feel okay in the dentist's office.
Parents should brush pre-schoolers teeth and supervise the brushing for school age children until they are 7 or 8 years and make sure they are doing a thorough job. Choose a toothbrush specifically designed for children's small hands and mouths. Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces, when teaching children to brush, place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle where the gums and teeth meet. Start along the gum line, move the brush in a gentle circular motion several times. Brush the mouth in quarter sections. Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen the breath and remove bacteria.
A Sealant is a plastic material thath is usually applied to chewing surfaces of the back teeth (pre-molars and molars). This plastic resing bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of the teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.
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