Kids are proud when they receive news that they have no cavities. At Dr. Maggie Davis & Associates, we know the amount of work that goes into keeping teeth free of decay. That is why we created our Cavity-Free Club to act as a reward system and encourage young patients to develop and maintain healthy oral hygiene habits. Each time a child leaves their appointment cavity-free, they become part of the Cavity-Free Club and earn the chance to win a prize. Our Palm Harbor pediatric dentist motivates children to care for their teeth in a way that is both fun and informative.

Want to help your child become a member of the Cavity-Free Club? It takes just a few minutes a day to establish a good oral hygiene routine. Read on to learn more!

Start Early

Many parents are unsure of the best time to start brushing and flossing their child’s teeth. What many parents don’t know is that they should begin good oral care before any teeth emerge. The AAP recommends wiping a baby’s gums with a baby toothbrush or soft washcloth after feeding. Once the first tooth erupts, parents should start brushing for two minutes two times a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of toothpaste.

When it comes to flossing, it’s best to start when the child has teeth that are in contact with one another. This usually occurs around age two or three. When teeth come in contact with one another, food particles can become lodged in the space in between. It’s important to teach them to upkeep their brushing and flossing every day, morning and night.

Brush and Floss

Brushing and flossing are the foundation for good oral health. Children should brush their teeth with the help of a parent starting from infancy. Only a small dab of toothpaste is needed for young children. Use a fluoride-free toothpaste until your child is old enough to spit it out, then you can switch to fluoride toothpaste as they get older. Show your child how to brush each tooth, front and back, along with the gums, and on the tongue. If you are not sure of the correct technique, ask your Palm Harbor pediatric dentist to show you.

By the time that your child is 7 or 8 years old, they may be ready to start brushing on their own. This is also the time to switch to a larger-sized toothbrush. When brushing, set a timer for two minutes to ensure that your child does not stop brushing before an adequate amount of time has passed. Also, teach your child to floss at least once a day. If you find traditional floss difficult to use, try floss equipped with a handle to make it easier. Don’t forget to replace your child’s toothbrush every three to six months.

Eat Healthy

Diet plays a major role in the health of teeth and gums. Children who consume a high sugar diet are at a much higher risk of developing tooth decay. Limit the amount of soda, juice, sweetened drinks, and other sugary treats that your child has. It is also a good idea to limit snacking between meals. When your child does have sugar, have them brush afterward.

Children over the age of two should drink mostly water to stay hydrated. Water is not only healthy for children but also helps to wash away food debris and dilute acids that can weaken enamel. Provide your child with a balanced diet containing fresh fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds. Older children can benefit from chewing sugarless gum with xylitol, which can help stimulate the salivary glands, strengthen the jaw, wash away bits of food, freshen breath, and balance the acids that cause decay.

Visit a Pediatric Dentist

As soon as teeth emerge, cavities can develop. That is why it’s important for your child to visit a pediatric dentist at least every six months. At Dr. Maggie Davis & Associates, we offer a wide range of preventative services to keep your child’s smile gleaming. Regular visits to a pediatric dentist will also help ensure that your child is part of our Cavity-Free Club month after month. Call us today to schedule your child’s first appointment and get your child one step closer to a cavity-free life!