For kids to have healthy teeth there are two types of dental care that are necessary: daily care, and professional care. Daily care refers to the basic oral hygiene habits you do at home, such as brushing and flossing. Professional care refers to the twice yearly visits you make to the dentist for cleanings and exams. Both types of dental care are equally important, but it can be difficult to motivate children (and sometimes their parents) to keep up with it.
This is why ABQ Pediatric Dentistry Established the Healthy Teeth Club. It serves as a motivator to encourage children to take care of their teeth. Here’s how and why it works.
The Importance of Daily Dental Care at Home
You know your child should brush and floss their teeth every day, and your child knows this as well. But getting them to follow through can be a challenge. Why is daily dental care so important?
When you eat food, especially sticky foods with sugar, residue from food mixes with bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. Plaque sticks to your teeth unless it is brushed away. If it is not brushed away daily, it hardens into calculus that is much more difficult to remove. The bacteria in the plaque and calculus will eat away at the enamel of your teeth, causing holes known as cavities. The bacteria can also infect your gums causing gum disease.
Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste will remove the plaque from your teeth before it can harden or cause cavities. Flossing once a day will remove the plaque that settles between your teeth. Just these two simple steps will go a long way toward keeping your teeth healthy. Help your child with brushing and flossing when they are young until they are old enough to do it effectively on their own.
The Importance of Professional Dental Care
If your child is brushing and flossing at home, why do you need to take them to the dentist? Professional dental care is still necessary because despite you and your child’s best efforts, it is difficult to remove all of the plaque from your teeth with brushing and flossing alone. Dentists have special tools that are highly effective at removing plaque that brushing and flossing miss.
Regular dental visits also include an oral exam, which includes X-rays and other diagnostics that can identify cavities or other dental issues that may exist below the gum line. Orthodontic screenings are often a part of regular dental visits for children to identify any severe conditions that may need to be addressed early on.
How and Why the Healthy Teeth Club Works
In order to be included in the Healthy Teeth Club, children must brush and floss their teeth daily, eat healthy, and have regular dental appointments every 6 months at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry. Children will be entered into a drawing for the month of their appointment to win a prize. The drawing takes place at the end of each month, awarding the winner a fun STEM-based prize.
STEM, referring to science, technology, engineering, and math, is a large part of the community where we are located. Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico in general has a large STEM presence with space exploration centers and other scientific and engineering industries. Our space-themed practice promotes STEM education and encourages children to develop these skills that will serve them well in the future.