February 8, 2016
A good family dentist cares for the whole family, and an important part of oral health is preventive care.
This starts at home with good brushing and flossing habits. Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, we wanted to take some time to review the oral hygiene habits you and your family should be practicing at home.
But you also need to remember that preventive care should include regular cleanings and exams at Lapalco Family Dental.
No matter how well you care for your teeth at home, it’s important to have a dental professional look at your mouth. Our team will remove any plaque or tartar buildup, and we will watch for signs of gum disease.
Our care is why patients come from Marrero, Harvey, and the surrounding area to visit our Louisiana dentist office.
Oral Care Starts Early
If your family recently welcomed a newborn or you are expecting a new baby any day, then congratulations. This will be an exciting time in your lives.
Before your baby has any teeth, you can start providing oral care by wiping his or her mouth with a moist cloth after feedings.
Your baby’s first tooth will be a big event, but it also means that your son or daughter is able to develop tooth decay. So, you will need to start brushing his or her tooth (and teeth as more erupt).
At this stage, get a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. Apply a small squeeze of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Gently scrub his or her tooth/teeth twice each day.
Learning For Themselves
Somewhere around the age of 3 is a good time to teach your child how to brush and floss his or her own teeth. While your child will be doing the work, it’s a good idea for you to supervise the process for two reasons.
First, you don’t want your child to swallow the toothpaste when he or she is finished. Second, you want to make sure your son or daughter brushes for the right amount of time.
It’s important that you and your children brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. You can use an app on your smartphone or table, a kitchen timer, a stopwatch, or anything else that will help your child understand how long to brush.
Your son or daughter will need a toothbrush that is comfortable to use along with a pea-sized squeeze of fluoride toothpaste. You’ll want to watch to make sure your child scrubs his or her teeth on all sides and finishes by brushing his or her tongue.
Your child should also floss his or her teeth once daily to remove bacteria and plaque that can’t be reached with a toothbrush.
Another Big Change
By the age of 7, your child should be able to brush his or her teeth unsupervised (although checking on him or her every now and then is probably still a good idea).
This is another important transitional time for your children’s oral health. Your child will start losing his or her baby teeth at this time.
Hopefully, your family has already been making regular visits to Lapalco Family Dental for exams and cleanings, but it’s particularly important now. We want to monitor your child’s tooth development closely.
As the baby teeth fall out and the permanent teeth start coming in, we will watch for any problems and recommend treatments, if needed, to minimize the orthodontic care your child may need later.
The Teenage Years
Hopefully, your teenager will be self-motivated to brush and floss every day.
Around age 13, you child will have most of his or her permanent teeth. This is the right time to look into orthodontic care if any is needed.
You son or daughter’s wisdom teeth could erupt in their later teen years. We’ll also watch how they erupt and take action if they become impacted.
A few more things to keep in mind, we also offer sealants, which we can place over your children’s molars. These are the teeth most likely to develop cavities, and sealants are an added layer of defense against the bacteria that cause cavities.
You may want to take advantage of our fluoride treatments, too. Fluoride can strengthen the protective enamel on your children’s teeth.
And last but not least, if your children play high-impact sports, then they should be wearing athletic mouthguards during practices and games to protect against injuries.
Dental Care For Your Family
Your children are the most important people in your life. Remember to brush and floss every day and to schedule visits to Lapalco Family Dental for regular cleanings and examinations.
To make an appointment at our dentist office in Marrero, LA, call 504-264-6461 or fill out our online form.