Oral Hygiene

Brushing

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your child's teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under the gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you at least 2 minutes to thoroughly brush their teeth and don't forget to brush their tongue too.

Infancy

It is encouraged to begin daily brushing even before the first tooth appears.  With a soft cloth or baby toothbrush, start with cleaning your baby's gum pads, tongue and the roof/palate of your baby's mouth..

Toddlers/Preschoolers

You can use a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste and try to teach them how to spit.  Make it fun!  Sing a song or tell a story while brushing. Children enjoy it when their parents brush with them.  When they can hold their toothbrush, it is time to start learning how to brush.

School-Age and Up

Children will start being independent and would like  to brush on their own. We still recommend supervision till your child can brush effectively.  A toothbrush timer can be helpful.  A manual or battery-operated toothbrush can be used as long as there is supervision.  Reinforcement to your child and good brushing habit leads you on the road to a lifetime of good oral health.

Brush your teeth daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:

  • In the morning after breakfast
  • After lunch or right after school
  • At bedtime

As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one.

Flossing

For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.

Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Kids flossers with little handles can also be used. Floss behind all of your back teeth.

Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.

Diet Control

The teeth, bones and soft tissues of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups help minimize and avoid cavities and other dental problems. Consumption of foods that contain sugars and starches should be decreased. These foods can include candies, cookies, chips and crackers. Healthier foods, such as vegetables and fruits high in vitamin C promote healthy gums and milk, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, help promote stronger teeth.

Dental Visits

Your child should  visit the dentist twice a year (once every six months). In order to maintain a healthy smile, it is vital to have professional cleanings and regular check-ups. Dr. G will examine your child's teeth and provide an evaluation of existing dental problems and proposed treatment. If your child has a dental emergency, contact the office as soon as possible.

Tooth Decay Prevention

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur plus the sugars in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity.  Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown ( or a cap that protects the entire tooth).. Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental check-ups, diet control and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.

Sealants

The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary.