How to Keep Your Child’s Smile Healthy During the Pandemic
Updated: Dec 3, 2021
Here we are, more than a month into quarantine, and you may be wondering if you’ll ever get to see your pediatric dentist again! We here at Capital City Pediatric Dentistry miss our patients enormously and want to make sure you’re all taking care of your children’s teeth. Dr. Robin Croswell, DDS, PA says “We strongly suggest that you make dental health a priority. In the dental community we are receiving numerous calls regarding pain due to inflammation and infection in a time where our ability to treat is limited.”
So, what should you be doing to make sure your child’s smile remains healthy while you’re waiting for your appointment? Here are a few tips:
Infants and Young Children
It’s important to take care of those baby teeth, as they have many important roles in the mouth! Even though they will eventually fall out, they are needed now for eating, speaking and smiling, and to keep the space in the jaws for adult teeth.
For newborns, wipe the gums with a damp washcloth after each feeding to keep the mouth clean.
Once your child’s first tooth appears, brush their teeth for two minutes, twice daily, with a child’s size, soft bristled toothbrush. Use an amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste that is the size of a grain of rice for children under 24 months.
For children 2 years and older, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride, making sure your child spits it out after brushing.
Start flossing between their teeth daily once you see two teeth that touch. This helps to get rid of food between teeth and under the gums, and also helps to stop cavities from forming between teeth.
Teach your child to brush his or her tongue to help reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.
For infants, make sure to take their bottle away after your child finishes drinking to prevent baby bottle tooth decay.
We suggest encouraging your children to brush their own teeth around age 2 but remember that a child still needs your supervision and assistance with brushing and flossing until they are around 7-8 years of age, so they establish good habits. Remind your child to pay attention to their back teeth!
Older children and pre-teens:
Now that your children are most likely learning from home and not in school, you may have a bit more control over what they are eating during the day. Make sure they are eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods as healthy snacks, and keep the sugary drinks and treats to a minimum.
In addition to a healthy diet, continue to ensure they are following good oral hygiene:
Remind your child to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for a full two minutes to fight cavities, strengthen teeth and freshen breath.
Flossing is extremely important at this point, as most permanent teeth have come in and cleaning between them will help prevent cavities and keep their mouth fresh.
Chewing sugar-free gum can also help in washing away bits of food and balancing acid that can cause tooth decay.
Make sure kids who wear braces are taking care to brush and floss very thoroughly during this time.
Dr. Croswell also recommends having children use a fluoride rinse before bed to help keep teeth healthy. For children 6 and older who can swish and spit, they should use the rinse as instructed. For children younger than 6 years of age, she suggests putting some on a cotton swab and wiping teeth.
By following a proper dental hygiene routine, you can keep your child’s smile healthy until you are able to see your dentist. Contact us here at Capital City Pediatric Dentistry now if your child experiences a dental emergency and be sure to schedule your appointment for preventative care as soon as our offices reopen.