your questions about children’s oral health. Have additional questions for us? Visit Frangella Dental on Facebook or Twitter.

Is it okay to give children juice or is the sugar bad for their teeth?

Controlling a child’s diet is important for the prevention of cavities. You’ll want to make sure that your child is receiving the proper nutrition throughout the day but also keep their teeth in mind when doing so. If your child likes to sleep with a bottle, make sure that the bottle only has water in it. Sleeping with a bottle that contains sugary liquids can lead to baby bottle tooth decay. It is important that older children drink plenty of water and limit the amount of sugary beverages they drink including juice, energy drinks, and sodas. They are often full of sugar or can be acidic causing cavities, as well as acid erosion. Crunchy fruits and veggies can help clean a child’s teeth while supplying vitamins and nutrients that are good for your child’s overall health. After your child has a sugary drink, it is a good idea to brush their teeth. If that’s not possible, have them drink or rinse the mouth with water to cleanse the areas that the sugar that was deposited.

How many times a day should kids brush their teeth and with what equipment?

We recommend that children brush their teeth at least twice a day; in the morning and at night. Night time is one of the most important times to brush because all the sugary foods and drink that your child has had during the day are left to sit on the teeth, undisturbed all those hours if not brushed. Infants may not have all their teeth yet. They also don’t know not to swallow toothpaste so we recommend you use a warm towel to wipe gums & teeth rather than brush with a toothbrush. For toddlers and small children, you should brush for them with a soft bristle toothbrush appropriate for their age. Children’s toothbrushes will have age groups listed on them to help you pick the right one. When your child is at the point where he/she will not swallow toothpaste, you can begin having him/her brush with a fluoride toothpaste. As your child gets older, he/she will want to brush his/her own teeth but may not have the proper dexterity to reach all the areas of the mouth and often just do a back and forth motion on the front of the teeth. You should always follow up and brush for them when they’re done. This helps to make sure that the teeth are clean but also continues to reinforce the proper way to brush.

Should I floss my child’s teeth or is that not important until the permanent teeth come in?

We recommend that a parent floss a child’s teeth at least once a day. You may be wondering what there is to floss if there are spaces between the child’s teeth but the most important thing is to get below the gumline, to clean where the toothbrush doesn’t reach. You can pick up flossers specially made for children in local drugstores.

How much fluoride should I give my child? Can flouride be bad for teeth?

Fluorosis is something that can happen if a child is getting too much fluoride for their height and weight during tooth development. Your dentist or general physician will prescribe a fluoride vitamin during these years of development and account for fluoride that is already in your water.

How bad is a pacifier or thumb-sucking?

Children usually give up these habits before the age that adult teeth begin to come in so it has no long lasting dental result. If a child is engaging in these habits while the adult teeth are erupting it can cause them to be malpositioned and pushed forward. Adult teeth begin to erupt in a child around the ages of 5-6 years old, so it is a good idea to try and wean your child off of these habits before then.]]>

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