The February 2022 National Children’s Dental Health Month theme is: Sealants Make Sense. This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of dental health for children, their caregivers, teachers and many others.
Dental Sealants for Children
Sealants are a fast and easy way of protecting your child’s teeth that act as barriers to cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves. Both primary and permanent teeth can benefit from sealants. Now you know why “Sealants Make Sense”!
Toothbrushes Cannot Reach Everything
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to remove food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Sealants are easy for your dental team to apply. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.
The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. But adults can benefit from sealants as well.
Dental Health for Children
While this year’s theme may focus around dental sealants, Children’s Dental Health Month is really about the importance of oral health in our children. At GPS Dental, we’re dedicated to helping families understand the importance of good dental care at an early age. In fact, the American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents find a dentist for their child as early as their first tooth loss or first birthday.
When you come and see us early on for family dentistry, we can assess your child’s gums and you can ask us any questions you’d like. It’s a great way to establish your child’s dental routine, monitor their oral health, and implement any preventative measures.
Download dental health for children posters, worksheets, and more HERE!
Protect those Baby Teeth
While we know about the importance of taking care of our adult teeth, tiny baby teeth and children’s teeth also need good oral care to prevent bacteria and decay. It’s important to implement brushing every day, and help your child floss. In infants or baby teeth, it’s helpful to limit the amount of sugary liquids and remember our theme of water: nature’s drink! Instead of sending your child to bed with a bottle full of milk, formula, or juice, use water instead. It’s the safest option and doesn’t include any sugary risks.
Learn More about Dental Health for Children
A few tips:
- Clean your infant’s gums daily. You can do this with a damp washcloth and gently wipe over the gums after each feeding to clear away bacteria.
- Start a brushing routine with the appearance of their first tooth. Brush the tooth with small brush and tiny amount of toothpaste.
- Once your child’s teeth touch, you can begin flossing.
- Replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months.
Baby teeth are important for children to:
- Chew and eat foods. Children need to eat healthy foods every day to grow and be strong. Children with tooth decay are less likely to eat crunchy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Being able to eat these foods promotes good nutrition and a healthy weight.
- Speak clearly. Children who lose baby teeth too early may have trouble making certain sounds. This can make it hard to understand the child. A child may need speech therapy to improve speech problems that may develop because of missing teeth.
- Have self-confidence. Children with decayed front teeth tend to not smile or may cover their mouth when talking. Sometimes they stop playing with other children. A healthy smile helps give children the self-confidence needed to have good social experiences.
- Stay healthy. Tooth decay in baby teeth can lead to infections that can cause fever and pain. If not treated, the infection from tooth decay can spread to other parts of the head and neck and lead to severe swelling.
- Keep space for adult teeth. Baby teeth hold space for adult teeth growing in the jaw. If a baby tooth is lost too early, other teeth that are already in the mouth will move into the space. It can block out the adult tooth trying to come in and cause crowding. The upper and lower jaws may not meet properly because of the crooked teeth.
- Related Article: Oral Diseases and Tooth Loss… GPS Dental Can Help
Tips for Visiting the Dentist:
- If your child asks what will happen at the dentists office, give a simple answer. For example, say:
- “They may count how many teeth you have.”
- “They may clean your teeth to make them shiny and bright!”
- If you don’t like visiting the dentist, don’t share that information with your child. That might make your child worry about going, too.
- Set up a pretend dental chair. Pretend to be the dentist or dental hygienist. Look in your child’s mouth and count her teeth; then talk to her about brushing her teeth.
- Read books or watch videos with your child about visiting the dental clinic. Don’t use books or videos that have words like hurt, pain, shot, drill, afraid, or any other words that might scare your child.
- Let your child bring his favorite toy or blanket to the clinic.
- If you find out that your child will receive a small toy or new toothbrush at the end of the visit, remind your child of this reward.
- Plan a fun activity for after their visit to the dentist.
We love our little patients and strive to make their dental visits comfortable and fun! When they enjoy visiting Dr. Skrobanek and his Team, they will likely brush their teeth regularly and look forward to their next visit! We will do our best to schedule your children’s visits together, if that makes it easier for you to bring everyone at the same time!
Thank you for giving your child healthy dental habits that will last a lifetime!
Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers affordable dental care for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implants, sleep apnea, TMJ / TMD Treatment, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at 210-633-3477 to make an appointment.