KIDS & TEETH
After high school I had zero clue of what I wanted to do in life. I mean I wanted to get married and have babies, but in order for that I needed to find my future spouse and I hadn’t yet. I was a typical teenager working a minimum wage job, somewhat attending classes at community college, and trying to figure out my next step. Then, one day I decided to just get out of my comfort bubble and go to career college to be a registered dental assistant! I was so proud of myself for making it through school, graduating with honors, passing all three tests-one being hands on and terrifying for me, and then finding a job as a pediatric assistant!
I had no idea what was all involved in the pediatric field, but I learned quickly and even became the back office supervisor and lead assistant. Pediatric dentistry involves infants and children, children with special needs, and adults with special needs. I saw everything from a hospital setting for special needs, toddlers being put under general anesthesia for full mouth dental work, and parents that just did not care. It became too emotional for me and I needed to do something else in life. It was such a good learning step in life for me though.
In my almost 4 years working in the field I learned so much about dentistry. I have tried my best to take what I learned and put it to use with my own sons. I haven’t found a local pediatric dentist yet, but that’s next on my list. I wanted to share tips with other mamas because without working in the field I wouldn’t know any of this either. Diet and hygiene are huge in taking care of teeth!
Finding a dentist:
Find a pediatric dentist through the American dental association, not just a dentist that says they see kids too. A play area does not mean they are trained in pediatric dentistry.
Never leave your child. I’ve heard stories of children being strapped down, luckily I worked in an office that didn’t believe in this.
Brushing– 2 times a day, if you want to battle just once, pick night to remove everything from the day! Start when they get their first tooth, you can use a cloth to wipe teeth, a finger toothbrush, or a soft toothbrush.
What to use: ” For children younger than 3 years, parents and caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.” ADA
For children 3 to 6 years of age, parents and caregivers should dispense no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Teeth should be brushed thoroughly twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Children’s brushing should be supervised to ensure that they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
How to brush: toddlers are hard! I battle my 17 month old every night! Make it as fun as possible! Stand behind them and brush that way. Make sure to brush in circle type motion, not just back and forth. The top teeth are more sensitive! Eventually they will get use to it if you do it daily!
Flossing– only worry about this if their teeth touch. If they have gaps, no need yet!
What to use: any floss, the pickers will be the easiest!
Diet: Diet plays a HUGE role in cavities!
What causes the most cavities:
Apple juice should never be given! It has SO much sugar, and it’s what caused a lot of problems. I saw it daily.
Never give anything Gummie- even vitamins!
Soda as we all know has a lot of sugar-the lighter in color the more sugar!
Of course, on occasional anything is okay. These should never be consumed daily.
A few good snack ideas:
Yogurt- although check the sugar, Greek yogurt is most likely the best option.
Peanut butter- natural
Water or milk to drink only, and make sure brush after final milk at night.
“It’s genetic, our family just has bad teeth!”
I heard this SO much. Sure, your family may have bad teeth, but it’s not genetic. Children do however get their mothers bacteria, meaning without good hygiene or diet, their chance is higher from cavities. Once again mom is to blame, not dad. Orthodontic wise is a totally different story!
I am in no way an expert, but this is what I learned from working in the pediatric dental field. Hope these tips can help more mamas out there! Tickle those sugar monsters away, their health depends on you.
Check out The Brushies Finger Puppet Brush and Book ! So fun for kids!