Preventative Care

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Preventative Care: The Foundation of Your Child's Healthy Smile

At Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto, we champion the cause of preventive dental care from a young age, as endorsed by leading health organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Establishing robust oral hygiene practices early can significantly reduce the likelihood of dental issues later in life, ensuring your child’s smile remains vibrant and healthy.

Daily Oral Hygiene Practices:

  • Brushing: Encourage your child to brush their teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. The ADA recommends using fluoride toothpaste to effectively remove plaque and food remnants. Brushing the tongue is also vital for removing bacteria and maintaining fresh breath.
  • Flossing: The AAPD highlights the importance of flossing once a day to remove plaque and food particles between the teeth and below the gum line, areas a toothbrush might miss.
  • Mouthwash: For children over the age of six, an ADA-approved mouthwash can complement brushing and flossing by killing additional bacteria and freshening breath.

Comprehensive Brushing Guidelines:

Embracing proper brushing techniques is essential for maintaining your child’s oral health. Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto follows the guidelines set by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), ensuring your child benefits from the best practices in dental care. Let’s delve into more comprehensive brushing advice:

Frequency and Technique:
  • Twice Daily Brushing: Consistency is key. Brushing twice a day, in the morning and before bed, prevents plaque buildup and cavities. A soft-bristled toothbrush is gentle on the gums and effective in cleaning the teeth.
  • Correct Brushing Angle: Position the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. This angle allows the bristles to reach the gum line and tooth surface, removing plaque and food particles effectively.
  • Brushing Motion: Use gentle, circular motions to clean all surfaces of each tooth. Encourage your child to cover the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces thoroughly. Each brushing session should last at least two minutes to ensure comprehensive cleaning.
  • Brushing Order: Teach your child to follow a consistent order when brushing to ensure no tooth is missed. Starting from one side of the mouth and moving systematically to the other can be a helpful strategy.
Choosing the Right Toothpaste:
  • Fluoride Toothpaste: From the appearance of the first tooth, fluoride toothpaste is recommended to protect against decay. For children under three, a smear the size of a grain of rice is advised. Children aged 3-6 should use a pea-sized amount. Fluoride aids in strengthening enamel and repairing the early stages of decay. The ADA’s stance on fluoride provides detailed information on its benefits.
  • Toothpaste Selection: Opt for toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, ensuring it meets the criteria for safety and effectiveness in oral care.
Tongue Cleaning:
  • Importance of Tongue Cleaning: Beyond teeth, the tongue harbors bacteria that can contribute to bad breath and plaque formation. Gently brushing the tongue or using a tongue scraper can remove these bacteria.
  • Technique: Teach your child to gently brush the tongue from back to front to remove food particles and bacteria. This practice not only contributes to oral hygiene but also promotes fresher breath.

Implementing these detailed brushing techniques will significantly contribute to your child’s dental health. For more information on teaching your child effective oral hygiene habits, consult the resources available at MouthHealthy by the ADA and the AAPD’s Parent Resources. Remember, combining these practices with regular dental checkups at Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto ensures your child’s smile remains bright and healthy.

Flossing and Mouthwash:

  • Daily Flossing: The AAPD stresses the importance of flossing once daily to remove debris between teeth and under the gumline, where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing prevents gum disease and tooth decay in between teeth.
  • Mouthwash for Older Children: For children over six, consider adding a fluoride mouthwash to their routine for additional protection against cavities, as recommended by dental professionals. Always supervise to ensure they swish and spit correctly.

Nutritious Diet for Dental Health:

A balanced diet limits sugary and acidic foods, which can erode tooth enamel. Encourage foods that promote oral health, such as crunchy fruits and vegetables, cheese, and nuts. These foods stimulate saliva production, which naturally cleanses the mouth.

Regular Dental Checkups:

Biannual dental visits are vital for professional cleanings and early detection of dental issues. These checkups can reveal problems not visible to the naked eye, such as cavities between teeth or beneath the gum line.

Additional Preventive Measures:

  • Dental Sealants: Consult us about applying sealants to your child’s molars to protect against decay.
  • Custom Mouthguards: If your child is active in sports, a custom-fitted mouthguard is essential for protecting their teeth from injury.

Schedule Your Visit:

Let Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto be your partner in your child’s oral health journey. Contact us at (650) 321-6448 to schedule a preventive care appointment. Explore further brushing and flossing techniques and tips on the ADA’s MouthHealthy website and the AAPD’s resources for parents. Together, we can ensure your child enjoys a lifetime of healthy smiles.


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