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Healthy Children Have Healthy Teeth

Posted on September 16, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Tooth decay is one of the biggest health issues among children, accounting for over 51 million hours of school time lost every year. What’s more, poor dental health in youth can lead to chronic dental and other health problems.  Discomfort, difficulty chewing and the need for painful and expensive procedures can all be prevented. We just need to take good care of our children’s dental health now, and instill some happy dental memories for our children.

So the question is: How do we do this?

And the answer is:

·       Don’t wait until your child says her tooth hurts.

·       Don’t wait until you see a big hole or black spot onyour child’s tooth.

·       Don’t wait until your child’s gums are bleeding.

After the age of 2, most kids have all their baby teeth. And by the age of 3, they should be coming for their first dental check up. This is the perfect age for them since they can now talk and cooperate with us.

Photo credit Creative Commons: Patrick

If they have healthy teeth, it is even more important that they come for a visit, so that they can familiarize themselves with the dental office and find that this can be a fun happy place. Every 3-year-old loves to go for a ride in the dental chair and have his or her teeth counted (charted) and tickled (cleaned). Especially since they have a big face mirror to hold on to so that they can watch EVERYTHING.

When most of us remember the dentist of our youth, usually memories of  fear and pain come with it. It doesn’t have to be that way for your children. By bringing them in for regular routine visits, before the dental problems occur, they will develop positive memories of their childhood dentist.

Statistics are staggering. More than one-half of all children aged 5 to 9 years have at least one cavity or filling. Also on the rise among elementary age children is tooth decay in seven or more teeth. It’s almost an epidemic.


A painful tooth or chronic dental problem can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking and concentrating. Children with dental pain may not always voice their problem. They may appear anxious, depressed or tired, and teachers may not recognize their pain. Dental problems also cause many children to miss school.

An annual back-to-school dental checkup is an easy way to help prevent these problems. It’s so important, that several states — including New York, California, Oregon— actually require children to get a dental exam before entering public school.

Regular dental exams do more than catch tooth decay. They also let us see if  teeth are growing in properly, monitor the results of tooth brushing and flossing techniques and allow us to apply protective sealants (there is no bisphenol A or BPA in our sealants) that can prevent decay before it happens.

In addition, parents of young athletes should discuss mouth guards with their dentist before returning to school sports. Mouth guards prevent painful and expensive oral injuries. If your kids play sports or engage in other activities that can impact their teeth, it is important to have them fitted for a mouth guard - a simple easy visit.

In addition to maintaining regular brushing and flossing habits, other tips to prevent tooth decay include:

  • Buy new toothbrushes: While they’re getting new notebooks, pens and other supplies, why not let them pick out a new toothbrush? While you’re at it, pick up two — one for home and one to bring to school.
  • Make a dental care kit for school: To encourage them to brush after lunch and snacks, buy a zippered plastic-lined bag and include a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.
  • Pack dental-friendly lunches and snacks: Fruit, nuts, string cheese and bottled water are all good choices.
  • Avoid sticky foods like raisins or fruit leather, as they can cause cavities.
  • Talk to your dentist about sealants, a protective coating applied to decay-vulnerable teeth.
  • Limit intake of  food and beverages high in added sugars.
  • Look for desserts sweetened with xylitol- a known anti-cariogenic  sweetener.
  • Reduce between-meal snacks.
  • Floss and brush after every meal.
  • Start a reward system: Encourage good dental exams like you encourage good grades — with a prize like a night at the movies, a new video game or other coveted item.

Cavities remain the most common chronic diseaseof childhood. A disease which affects how children learn to speak, ability to chew food, affects self-confidence and causes missed days at school -- and can even result in emergency room visits. Left untreated, dental disease can be very painful, costly and lead to other serious lifelong health issues.


We need to set good examples for our children by showing them the proper way to attain and keep their good health. Each of us should be coming twice a year for a check up and cleaning. Call your dentist’s office now to make that appointment. We look forward to helping you have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

 If you liked this post, you might like this: The Flaws of Fluoride

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Categories: Enlightened Dentistry, Food

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Reply jenny
4:28 AM on October 27, 2011 
I?m a single mom and I have 2 kids who both needed dental braces. I make just enough to not qualify Medicaid services so I can?t get free dental and medical services for the kids. I had to pay over $4800 so that my child can have braces and a beautiful smile. . .She was very scared and timid at school. I couldn?t find anyone in Los Angeles who would do the braces at a normal price so I had to launch find it with free services like (HealthSouk- the dental discount plan or discounted dentistry) and (800 dentist) The first one was free and the second apparently charges the dentist but not me.healthsouk
- Jenny Thomas
Reply Lorena
4:31 PM on October 31, 2011 
Thanks!! I'm a new mom and this is great information
Reply larryharkinsdental
10:51 PM on June 20, 2012 
How old does a kids start to brush his or her teeth? What you can give an advice to a kids of what toothpaste he or she must used? Do a kid can used the toothpaste of an older?

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Reply Dr. Brand
11:43 AM on June 21, 2012 
Great questions. Children should have their teeth brushed as soon as the front teeth erupt. For most, this is usually at 6 months of age, but can be earlier. Using a damp piece of gauze to clean the front teeth. Once the back teeth come in, and the child is communicative (18 months) a toothbrush with water (no toothpaste) would be sufficient.
Parents need to do this with their kid until the child shows that they can handle it themselves, usually by age 6 or older.
I would not use toothpaste until the child understands thast they need to spit it out. Swallowing toothpaste can be highly toxic.
Hope this information helps.