Caring for Your Child's Teeth: The Big Kid Years

Ericka Sóuter | May 6, 2013 Big Kid

girl smilingOnce those baby teeth come in, it's not always easy convincing your little one about the importance of brushing. A lot of parents will tell you, it can be a real struggle. But after the hurdle of teaching your child about caring for his precious toddler teeth, your job is far from over. Children miss over 750,000 days of school each year because of dental problems. So as they get older, it's critical to teach them how to maintain a healthy smile into adulthood. Here is what you need to know about caring for your big kid's teeth.

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  • Head to the Dentist


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    If your child has yet to visit a dentist, make an appointment right away to check for any tooth decay. It's important even if they still have some baby teeth. Cavity pain can cause problems when eating, disrupt sleep, and affect concentration in school. Otherwise, plan on getting a cleaning every six months to remove plaque build-up and ensure he is cavity-free.

  • Brush Technique


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    Children should brush twice a day, ideally after breakfast and before bed. Flossing at least once a day is also important at this age to prevent cavities from forming between teeth. Keep in mind, they still may need some supervising to make sure they are doing a thorough job.

  • Avoid Cavity-Causing Behavior


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    Kids are at a higher risk of tooth decay if they have a history of cavities or a diet heavy with sugar or carbohydrates. Encourage more nutritious snacks like veggies and yogurt.

  • Introduce Fluoride Toothpaste


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    Toddler toothpaste typically doesn't have fluoride so it can be ingested with little worry. But now is the time to introduce a brand with cavity-fighting protection. Just make sure they know they should not swallow it.

  • Consider Sealants


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    Most cavities pop up in places a sealant can protect. Children with them have 50 percent less tooth decay than those without. Talk to your dentist about having a sealant put on the biting surfaces that are more prone to problems.

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