Dental Hygiene Tips from the Tooth Fairy
The Tooth Fairy says that good dental hygiene doesn’t have to be scary or difficult.
You KNOW people are already looking at your beautiful red hair and fair complexion....So make sure your SMILE is gorgeous too!
These simple dental hygiene TIPS can help prevent tooth decay and problems later on.
TOOTH FAIRY TIP No.1 -- LEARN ABOUT TEETH
Babies are born with the 1st set of teeth (primary teeth) already formed in the jaw beneath the gums. However, these baby teeth don’t erupt through the gums until about 5-7 months of age, but this age varies.
Then, when we’re about 3 years old, the full set of 20 baby teeth have arrived.
By 5-7 years of age, the baby teeth gradually dissolve at the roots and get pushed out, get wiggly, and come out one way or another! The baby teeth are replaced by the 2nd set or permanent teeth. The jaw grows and makes room for the permanent molars. (See my "Gift Ideas" page -- PersonalCreations.com has a cute "First Tooth" keepsake and "Lost Tooth" ornaments.)
Your jaw bone securely holds the teeth in. You can’t see them but the roots of your teeth extend down into the jaw.
The tooth root has nerves and blood vessels inside to provide sensation and circulation to keep the tooth alive.
The gums surround the base of each tooth.
The tooth itself has several layers: The part on top that we see is the crown and is made of enamel. Underneath the enamel is a very hard substance called dentin.
Each tooth has its own size and shape to serve different functions like tearing or grinding food.
(Enjoy anatomy? -- CLICK HERE to see my page on Skin Anatomy.)
TOOTH FAIRY TIP No.2 -- BEGIN DENTAL CARE EARLY
Start good dental hygiene early...Right after birth!
To prevent tooth decay, dentists now recommend wiping your baby’s gums and mouth with a small piece of gauze after feeding to remove plaque.
(Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that causes decay.)
When teeth break through the gums, you can switch to a small soft-bristled finger-brush or small toothbrush (without toothpaste, as it's not necessary to get the teeth clean). There are now a lot of small-sized, brightly-colored toothbrushes for children in the stores, so shop with your child to find one they like. Make it fun to brush your teeth!
IF THEY ARE RESISTANT or you can only manage to brush a few teeth and they just chew on the brush, then that's okay! Just START the habit and make it fun: put on music, make it a game, try a electric toothbrush because feels good, laugh or do it all together, use their favorite cartoon character or superhero to inspire them or as an example, use a star chart or reward system, brush with them, etc.... DON'T make it a traumatic event and just relax. Ask pediatric dentists and hygienists for fun dental hygiene tips.
Flossing is the next step in good dental hygiene, once their full set of baby teeth come in by about 3 years of age: Instructions are below....
To help protect those teeth, dentists advise you NEVER allow your child to go to sleep with any sugary liquids....just use water if you must give them a bottle. That’s because formula, milk, and juice all contain sugars that cause cavities or tooth decay.
-- SO WHY CLEAN THE BABY TEETH?..... They fall out anyway, right? --
They’re important too! This 1st set of teeth serves an important purpose and also need to be cleaned and taken care of. They help your child speak clearly and chew. If they have decay, they can cause pain. They are space holders until the permanent teeth erupt later. Good dental hygiene is important.
TOOTH FAIRY TIP No.3 -- FOLLOW A DAILY ROUTINE
(1) Brush twice a day.
Brush in the morning and then especially before bed at the end of the day, after eating. Get that food and nasty plaque off the teeth BEFORE bedtime.
(2) Floss once a day.
Flossing really only takes about 1 minute and is SO important! A toothbrush can't reach those small spaces in between teeth but floss can. Floss removes the plaque that causes decay along the gums and in between teeth.
IF YOU'RE SAYING AACK! --- "I NEED MORE HELP" --
CLICK HERE to see a cute Video on how to brush teeth with great dental hygiene info. for BOTH kids and parents and worth watching.
(By "The Drs." TV show.)
(3) READ A STORY after they brush -- make if fun!!
TOOTH FAIRY TIP No.4 -- FIND A DENTIST
Good dental hygiene also includes a visit to your pediatric dentist or regular dentist at least twice a year. Why?....
Routine cleaning and to check on the health of your teeth. These regular cleanings remove plaque and tartar that cause cavities and gum disease. Sometimes x-rays are taken to check out the roots of the teeth and jaw bone and see if the teeth are developing normally. The exams also look for any cracks or chipping, cavities, trauma, gum disease, tongue problems, or mouth cancers that could be missed otherwise.
Visits like these are relatively pain-free and can be a good way to introduce children to the dentist.
-- Pediatric Dentists: A pediatric dentist has special training to work with children. They treat babies up to the teen years. Their offices are equipped with special kid-friendly equipment and furnished with kids in mind. Their staff try to make it an enjoyable fun time. Many dentists will set up a special 1st-time visit to just look at their mouths and let the kids check them out.
To find a pediatric dentist ask other parents, your pediatrician, or look in the phone book and set up an appointment. Ask your kids about their visits and shop around until you’re all comfortable.
-- Dental Hygienists: Their job includes cleaning teeth, gum care, and teaching you how to take care of your teeth. They work closely with the dentist and go to school for extensive training in dental hygiene.
Hygienists we’ve used in our family have always been very professional and helpful. The only differences were in their ‘touch’ as far as cleaning our teeth. Some have a very gentle touch and some were more aggressive. Find one you like and don’t be afraid to change to someone else if you need to. It’s your mouth.
-- Orthodontists: A dentistry specialty that treats crooked teeth, improper bites. They use things like braces and retainers to treat bite and jaw irregularities.
IF YOU have had a bad experience
with dentists, please don’t pass this anxiety along to your children by what you say about dentists. Dentistry has come a long way and dental health affects our whole body. There are excellent dentists who can put you at ease or even offer mild sedation. So find a dentist your family can work with and help your kids have healthy teeth that will last them a lifetime! Dental hygiene doesn't have to be scary. My family knows!!!
Sensitive Redheads! -- A new report from July 2009 "Journal of American Dental Association" (JADA) mentions that redheads may be more sensitive to pain and thus having bad experiences that may lead them to avoid dental checkups. (See my 'GENES' page to read more about this.)
My own redhead daughter's dentist/endodontist tol her that many redheads are more resistant to local anesthesia and some didn't go numb as easily as other people. ... SO, finding the right dental office for your needs makes ALL the difference. Don't be shy about your need for pain relief and DON'T avoid checkups. Think of it as preventative maintenance as you age.
TOOTH FAIRY TIP No.5 -- EAT HEALTHY FOOD
Try to limit sugar and eat live foods that feed your body. Healthy foods also benefit your skin and hair. Good dental hygiene begins by what we put into our mouth to eat, not just brushing and flossing!
TOOTH FAIRY TIP No.6 -- DO YOU PLAY SPORTS?....
Protect your teeth with a mouth guard. You need a properly fitted mouth guard to protect teeth from a blow to the face. Even more extensive mouth protectors may be part of your athletic gear to protect lips, face, tongue, or jaw. Ask your dentist for advice if you have questions.
TOOTH FAIRY TIP No.7 -- ANY TOOTH FAIRY VISITS?
Getting that 1st tooth or losing that 1st tooth are fun milestones. Having a tradition to celebrate losing a tooth makes kids feel special about growing older.
My kids always enjoyed it when they put their baby tooth in a special pocket in our stuffed Tooth Fairy doll. In the morning they woke up to find it gone and a special prize instead. Like many of you, you probably put the tooth under your pillow and in the morning found a quarter in its place.
How does YOUR family celebrate this milestone?
(Check out Personal Creations on my Shopping Mall page -- for some cute 'tooth-related' items. Once you get to their website from my Mall page, just type in "tooth" or "braces" in their Search Box and see what comes up!)
A NOTE ABOUT FLUORIDE: There are conflicting thoughts on using fluoride for dental hygiene -- Some people are very sensitive to the chemical and rather not use it, and let your dentist or hygienist know if you have a sensitivity. Dental care professionals feel it helps prevent dental decay.
Topical fluoride is often applied by dentist offices and it’s in many toothpastes and mouthwashes we buy in stores. Find out what your dentist and/or dental hygienist say about this and their research before you decide.
Also, fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash products should NOT be used by kids under 2 years of age because they might swallow it, which you DON'T want. The fluoride needs to be spit out. This is because too much fluoride can cause problems.
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