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Maintaining Healthy Mouths

Dr. Green has some suggestions for parents concerned with keeping their kids' teeth healthy and happy. While dental care should start before you can even see your child's first tooth, it's important to remember that developing good habits like flossing daily and brushing twice a day, coupled with regular dental visits, is the key to a healthy mouth.

According the American Dental Association every child should visit a dentist by the time they turn a year old. As your child ages, Dr. Green says routine checkups from once every three months to once a year is best. But good home care habits can begin now! At birth, babies tend to have about 20 teeth, some of which are fully developed in the jaw. By gently running a damp cloth over your baby's gums after feedings, you can help prevent the buildup of bacteria from the beginning.

Once your child's primary teeth have come in, usually at about two and-a-half years, Dr. Green may recommend in-office fluoride treatments. Applied properly and in the right amount, fluoride helps prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel so it can fight harmful bacteria.

While dental research has resulted in excellent preventive techniques, including fluoride, fillings and sealants, remember that following up a visit to Dr. Green with good home care is just as important. By working with your children to develop sound oral health habits -including limiting sugary, sticky foods- you'll help them stay healthy throughout their life. Give us a call at (207) 829-4444 to discuss proper flossing and brushing techniques for your kids.

Just the Right Amount of Fluoride

Have you ever wondered if fluoride is good for your children's teeth? Dr. Green recently made some recommendations which you may find helpful. During your child's next appointment, we can discuss using fluoride to help prevent cavities, as well as the various ways it can be applied.

Fluoride is a mineral that hardens teeth, thereby retarding cavity-causing bacteria. It's still important to maintain good home care habits, like flossing daily and brushing twice a day, but a topical fluoride treatment by Dr. Green could help ensure stronger, more resilient teeth. This is especially true for children, as fluoride treatments can also reverse the early decay process by repairing areas that have experienced bacteria and acid attacks.

There are two ways to receive fluoride, known as topical and systemic. Topical means that fluoride is applied by a professional dentist or by you at home. Systemic means that you ingest fluoride through drinking water or dietary supplements. (You can contact your local water supplier or health department to find out how much fluoride is in your water.)
While drinking water is often supplemented with fluoride, you can also purchase toothpastes and mouthwashes containing it.

Since too much fluoride may cause tooth discoloration, it's key to talk with Dr. Green first, before providing your children with any form of additional fluoride. Call our office at (207) 829-4444 today - we're happy to answer your fluoride questions!

The Good, the Chewy and the Sticky

Although they can be tantalizing, (especially for kids) we know it's best to keep sugary foods to a minimum for healthy teeth. But did you know that acidic, chewy and sticky foods are just as damaging? Dr. Green has made a list of foods to encourage your kids to eat as well as a list of foods to avoid - at least on days other than a birthday!

Hard, sticky and chewy candies, dried fruit, sports drinks, processed foods, sodas, fruit juices and even citrus fruit can all have negative effects on your children's teeth. They contribute to cavities as well as gum disease. The high sugar content in these foods turns into acid, which then sets to work breaking down tooth enamel. Even though your children's baby teeth will eventually fall out, making room for adult teeth, studies show that healthy habits early on make a positive difference into adulthood.

Dr. Green recommends a combination of healthy foods for healthy teeth. By snacking on cheese and natural yogurts, fortified cereal, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit, like bananas (best to limit oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other high-acid fruits), your children's teeth will benefit from fewer bacteria attacks. It's important to check the sugar content in any food, however, and also keep in mind that foods high in calcium, vitamins and minerals, such as broccoli and milk, will help teeth grow stronger.

Timing is also crucial. If your child does enjoy juice, it's best they drink it during lunch instead of sipping on it throughout the day. The duration allows plaque time to form. Natural plague removers, like celery (try with natural peanut butter), also make healthy -and crunchy - snacks. If you're concerned about your child's diet in relation to their teeth, call our office at (207) 829-4444.

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