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Keep your child’s mouth healthy with these tips for good dental hygiene for kids in Winston Salem, NC

Mom & Dady with baby girl inside the dental office

Children’s teeth and gums are just as susceptible to decay and disease as adults’, but there is a common misconception that children’s oral health is not as important because their baby teeth will eventually be replaced by adult teeth. However, healthy teeth and gums are essential to your child’s development and encouraging proper dental hygiene for kids lays the foundation for a lifetime of good dental habits. At Virtue Dental Center, which is conveniently located in the Winston Salem area, Dr. William Virtue and Dr. Mary Katherine Taylor provide routine dental check-ups and cleanings with a holistic approach that keeps your child’s mouth healthy while also protecting their overall well-being.

Importance of baby teeth

Even though they will eventually fall out, your child’s baby teeth serve many important functions in their mouth, including:

  • Chewing food: The different types of teeth in your child’s mouth each serve a purpose in cutting, tearing, and grinding food. When your child’s teeth are painful, decayed, or missing, they won’t be able to chew as well.
  • Helping your child speak properly: Many of your child’s teeth are important for saying certain sounds correctly. When teeth are missing or unhealthy, your child may not be able to say sounds like “th”, “f,” or “s,” which can hinder other people’s ability to understand them and affect your child’s confidence.
  • Maintaining space for their adult teeth to grow into: When a tooth unnaturally falls out too early, the other teeth near it will naturally shift into the open space. When this happens, your child’s adult teeth may not be able to grow into their proper positions and your child may need expensive orthodontic treatments.
  • Giving your child a happy, healthy-looking smile: If your child’s teeth are decaying or fall out too early, it can negatively impact the appearance of your child’s smile and in turn, their self-confidence.

Because of this, it is important to keep your child’s teeth healthy and free from decay with good dental hygiene. Healthy teeth and gums will also prevent your child from being in pain and can prevent costly fillings or restorations.

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Tips for good oral hygiene for kids

Happy smilling baby boy

To keep your child’s smile healthy and pain-free, dentists recommend a combination of daily cleaning and oral care, good eating habits, and regular trips to the dentist for a check-up and professional cleaning.

Daily cleaning of your child’s teeth and gums is essential for their overall oral health and helps prevent decay and disease. If your child is a baby and doesn’t have any teeth yet, you should wipe their gums with a wet cloth to remove any food particles or remnants of milk or juice from their gums to keep them healthy. Toddlers who have teeth but are unable to brush on their own should have their teeth brushed by an adult at least twice per day with a very small amount of toothpaste until the child can learn to spit the toothpaste into the sink instead of swallowing it. As kids get older and are able to brush on their own, an adult should supervise their brushing to ensure that they are reaching all of their teeth and spending an adequate amount of time brushing. Children should also use an interdental cleaner such as floss daily. Individual flossers can be easier for children to use than regular floss.

Good eating habits can help prevent the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease from spreading in your child’s mouth. Bacteria thrive when they have access to sugary or starchy foods, so by reducing the amount of these foods that your child consumes, the bacteria will have less sugar to feed on. Common foods that children eat that are best to limit include juices, candy, desserts, and breads. When your child consumes them, it is best to brush their teeth afterwards.

Regular dental hygiene visits are as important as daily home care in maintaining the health of your child’s teeth. At these visits, an experienced Virtue Dental Center dental hygienist will professionally clean your child’s teeth and then the dentist will examine their mouth for any signs of decay, infection, or inflammation. The dentist also looks for other issues that may need to be monitored, such as problems with your child’s bite or how their teeth are developing.

Dr. William Virtue and Dr. Mary Katherine Taylor take a holistic approach to dental care and consider your child’s overall health and well-being in all treatments and care that they provide. Call Virtue Dental Center, located in the Winston Salem area, to schedule your child’s check-up today!

 

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