School Age Children Dental Care

Step 1: Good Home Care

 Supervise you child's brushing and flossing, A 1996 survey showed that one-third of parents allow their children to brush and floss unsupervised.

 The best times to brush are after breakfast and before bed.

 The best toothbrushes have soft, round-ended and polished-bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums.

 Select a fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association.

 Encourage your child to floss at least once a day.

 Supervise your child's flossing until age 10.

 Snack in moderation, no more that two times a day. Snacks should contribute to the overall nutrition and health of the child. Cheese, vegetables and yogurt are all nutritious snacks.

Step 2: Fluorides

 Fluoride not only helps prevent tooth decay, but can also cure cavities in their early stages. A healed cavity is stronger that the original surface.

 Water fluoridation is still the No. 1 way to prevent tooth decay. However, over 40% of children do not have access to fluoridated water.

 If a child does not have access to adequately fluoridated water, a pediatric dentist can advise parents about other sources of fluoride supplements, fluoride treatments, fluoridated toothpaste, and fluoride mouth rinses.

 A pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the brush is plenty for fluoride protection. Children should spit out, not swallow, the toothpaste after brushing

Step 3: Sealants

 Most cavities occur in places that sealants could have protected. Four out of five cavities in children under age 12 occur on the biting surfaces of the back teeth.

 Children with just a single application of sealants on their back teeth had 50% less tooth decay and tooth restorations after 15 years that children with sealants.

 A 1995 ADA survey showed that sealants cost about less that half of what a filling costs; a good buy in view of the valuable decay protection it provides.

 The teeth most at risk of decay and therefore most in need of sealants are the six-year and twelve-year molars.

Step 4: Mouth Protectors in Sports

 More than 200,000 injuries are prevented each year by wearing mouth protectors while participating in contact sports such as football, baseball, basketball, soccer, or hockey.

Step 5: Regular Dental Visits

 Teeth cleanings remove plaque build-up on the teeth. Plaque irritates the gums and causes decay.

 It is essential to get an on-going assessment of changes in a child's oral health by a pediatric dentist. For example, a child may need additional fluoride, dietary changes, sealants, or preventive orthodontics for ideal dental health.