Dental Care for Pre-Schooler’s (3-5 Year Olds)
Q: When do most children begin to lose their baby teeth?
A: On average about age 6 and the lower front teeth are the first ones to go!
Q: What is the correct way to floss my child’s teeth?
A: Flossing removes plaque between the teeth, where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch. You should floss the child’s teeth at least once per day (preferably at night) until he/she can do it alone, normally around age 10. Use about 18 inches of floss, winding most of it around the middle fingers of both hands. Hold the floss lightly between the thumbs and forefingers. Use a gentle, back-and-forth motion to guide the floss between the teeth. Curve the floss into a C-shape and slide it into the space between the gum and tooth until you feel resistance. Gently scrape the floss against the side of the tooth. Repeat this procedure on each tooth. Don’t forget the backs of the last four teeth. Floss holders may be better tolerated by smaller children when parents find it difficult to utilize their fingers in a tiny mouth.
Q: How important is a child's diet in the prevention of cavities?
A: Although a well-balanced diet is important in preventing cavities and ensuring good general health, cavities are not only the result of what children eat but also the frequency of meals. Frequent snacking without brushing leaves food on the teeth longer and increases the likelihood of a cavity developing. Additionally, frequent "sipping" on sugar-drinks (including juice and soda) in a baby bottle, "sippy" cup, or re-sealable bottle can cause widespread dental cavities. How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candy and breath mints stay in the mouth a long time, which cause longer acid attacks on tooth enamel. If your snacks frequently, choose nutritious beverages and foods such as unsweetened drinks, fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks/cereals, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are healthier and better for children’s teeth than sugary snacks. To sum up, avoid ingestion of food/drinks high in sugar content and frequent consumption of sweetened snacks.
Q: How can you as a parent develop positive dental habits in your child?
A: Here are some suggestions…
• Set a good example
• Make oral health a family effort
• Convey importance of daily brushing and flossing, limited snacking and regular dental checkups
• Support brushing and flossing - assisting and performing spot checks as needed