Teeth cleanings are essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. Seeing an oral hygienist and a dentist every six months ensures that minor stains, plaque, and bacteria can be removed from your child’s teeth, and that their smile remains healthy and strong.
Good at-home oral hygiene is also important. Make sure your child brushes at least twice a day for two minutes using fluoride-based toothpaste, and floss once per day to get rid of food particles, plaque, and bacteria that can’t be removed with brushing alone.
Fluoride treatments can be applied to the teeth after any teeth cleaning. Typically, this is provided every 6 months, however the dentist may recommend a different frequency for your child after a thoughtful evaluation.
After treatment, the fluoride will attract minerals like calcium and phosphates to your child’s teeth, strengthening and “remineralizing” them. This, in turn, helps prevent the formation of cavities.
Dental sealants are a great way to fight back against cavities, and can be used on patients of all ages. Sealants are made up of a layer of liquid dental resin, which your dentist will apply directly to the posterior teeth. Usually, sealants are only used on the posterior teeth because their deep crevices are more prone to cavities.
This resin is hardened using a special light, creating a strong barrier. This blocks food debris, acid, and bacteria from contact with your child’s enamel. A strong dental sealant can prevent the formation of cavities for up to 10 years.
Oral cancer screenings are an essential part of preventive care. Oral cancer is often hard to detect until it spreads more widely and becomes more serious. However, your dentist can detect signs early simply by performing an oral exam at your child’s biannual dental appointments.
Your dentist will examine your child’s mouth, gums, and oral tissues. They will look for discolored patches, lumps, growths, and other such abnormalities. In the rare case that an issue is found, a biopsy can be taken and sent to a specialist for further analysis, or your dentist will refer you to a specialist directly. Consistent dental visits allow your dentist to become familiar with your child’s oral health, which in turn, allows them to more easily notice when there may be something wrong.