Kids Dentist

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the perfect time to address the importance of your child’s oral health. Although children’s “baby teeth” will be lost and replaced by permanent adult teeth, it is still vitally important to care for them.

Research shows that children with poor oral health miss more school, and earn lower grades than children with good oral health. Painful cavities or inflammation in the mouth can be distracting, and untreated decay (cavities) can lead to problems with speech and eating. The great news? You can help your child have great oral health. Here’s how:

Get Regular Checkups

Regular checkups allow Dr. Smith to work with parents to prevent decay, catch cavities early, and treat them. Dr. Smith places sealants on teeth to protect them from decay, and performs a thorough exam to look for any signs of oral disease. Just as with any infection, catching and treating tooth decay early can prevent a lot of pain and complications. If left untreated, a cavity can eventually cause an abscess or infection in the bone under the tooth that can be very serious.

The American Dental Association recommends that the first check up should be 6 months after a baby’s first tooth appears, or at one year old (whichever comes first). At this point, the dental checkups are to simply check on the progress of the teeth and help the parents care for their child’s oral health, as well as get the child used to seeing the dentist.

Cut The Juice

For small children, one of the largest contributing factors in tooth decay is allowing juice or milk in bottles, especially putting the baby to bed with the bottle. Juice, soda, and carbohydrate heavy snacks are big cavity causing culprits for older kids as well. The bacteria on the teeth thrive on the sugar from these snacks and drinks, and produce an acidic byproduct that eats away at the enamel, causing cavities.

Replacing sugary or acidic drinks with water will make a huge difference in oral and overall health, and prevent the plaque bacteria on the teeth from having anything to munch on. Limiting snacks, especially carbohydrate heavy or sticky snacks can also make a positive difference in oral health.

Teach Proper Home Care

As soon as the first tooth appears, it is time to start brushing. We recommend using a soft or extra soft bristled brush with a very small head (preferably a toothbrush made specifically for infants). Not only will this remove the plaque that causes cavities, but it also will get your child used to brushing their teeth, and form a life long healthy habit.

When there are multiple teeth, you can begin flossing. For older children, it is important to make sure that they are brushing twice a day effectively, meaning brushing every surface of every tooth thoroughly. Flossing once a day is also essential to removing plaque bacteria between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach.

We treat the whole family at Spokane Dental, and would love to partner with you in creating good oral health. To speak to one of our friendly office staff members, call us at (509) 822-5614. We can schedule an appointment or answer any questions you may have. Dr. Smith and your Spokane Dental team can’t wait to help you achieve your oral health goals.