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Family Care Dental Clinic

Dental Care for School-Age Children

Dental Care for School-Age Children

As we all know, regular check-ups, prevention and early detection are keys to help school-age children to develop good oral health. Here are great tips for parents with school-age children.

 

Teeth development

Children usually start losing their baby teeth around six years of age. From 6-12 years, children have a mixture of adult and baby teeth. The baby teeth at the back are replaced around 10-12 years of age. By this age, most children have all their adult teeth except for the third molars (wisdom teeth). The adult teeth don’t get replaced, so you have to look after them.

If your child’s baby teeth came late, the adult teeth will probably be late too. If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth development, see your dentist.

When adult teeth are coming through:

  • Your child might find chewing is more difficult when teeth are loose or missing.
  • Encourage your child to eat a variety of healthy foods.
  • Keep up your child’s teeth-brushing routine, taking extra care around the loose teeth or sensitive areas.
  • Allow loose teeth to fall out on their own. If you try to pull out a tooth before it’s ready to fall out, it can break. This can cause pain and infection.
  • Sometimes an adult tooth will come through before the baby tooth has fallen out. If the baby tooth hasn’t fallen out within 2-3 months, see your dentist.

 

Cleaning your child’s teeth

By the time your child reaches school, she might be starting to clean her own teeth. If so, it’s a good idea for you to either start or finish the cleaning process. Your child will still need your supervision and help until she’s at least eight years old.

Try the following when helping your child brush their teeth:

  1. Use a child’s toothbrush that has soft bristles of different heights to clean the teeth and gums properly.
  2. Stand or sit behind your child so he’s secure. Doing it in front of a mirror is good too, because it lets you see his mouth.
  3. Cup your child’s chin in your hands with his head resting against your body.
  4. Angle the bristles of the toothbrush towards the gum and move the brush in gentle circles to clean the outer and inner sides of the teeth and gums. Brush where the teeth and gums meet.
  5. Gently brush your child’s tongue.

Keeping the toothbrush clean

To reduce the risk of decay-causing germs, rinse the toothbrush and allow it to air-dry after each use. Make sure family members’ toothbrushes don’t touch each other when stored. And no sharing when it comes to toothbrushes! One for each family member is best.

Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months, or when the bristles get worn or frayed.

Flossing

Clean between your child’s teeth once a day using a using a pik or string floss.

Toothpaste and fluoride

Fluoride helps build strong teeth and bones and prevent tooth decay.

Most children get enough fluoride from using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Make sure you check toothpaste ingredients for fluoride.

You need to use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste smeared onto the toothbrush. Encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out as you clean. She doesn’t need to rinse with water, though. The small amount of fluoridated toothpaste still in her mouth will help build strong, healthy teeth.

 

Other Teeth Concerns

Thumb-sucking

Most children grow out of the habit of sucking thumbs and fingers from 2-4 years of age.

You can usually reverse the effects of thumb-sucking up to 5-6 years, because children still have their baby teeth. If children are still sucking after this age, dental problems can come up.

Vigorous finger-sucking (that’s when you hear a popping sound when a child takes thumb or fingers out of his mouth) and prolonged sucking can affect the growth of a child’s jaws and the alignment of teeth. If you’re concerned about your child’s sucking habits, talk to your dentist.

Teeth-grinding

Teeth-grinding in school-age children is pretty common and doesn’t usually need treatment.

Some children clench their jaws quite firmly, and others grind their teeth so hard that it makes a noise. Some children grind their teeth during sleep. Most of the time, teeth-grinding doesn’t last and doesn’t cause damage to your child’s teeth. But if it does keep going, you might want to talk to a dentist. It could lead to your child experiencing headaches, tooth or jaw pain, or wearing down her teeth. Devices to protect teeth from grinding at night can help. You can get them from dentists.

Dental Sealants

Your dentist might recommend dental sealants for your school-age child.

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that dentists bond to the chewing surfaces of teeth (where most cavities in children are found). These sealants stop plaque build-up in the grooves of teeth and help prevent tooth decay. The process of applying the sealant is simple and quick, with no pain and very little discomfort for your child.

Sealants don’t stay on your child’s teeth forever. Your dentist will check them regularly. They might sometimes need fixing or reapplying.

If you’re interested in dental sealants for your child, speak to your dentist.

Injuries to Teeth

Injuries to your child’s face and teeth can occur when he’s running, climbing, riding scooters, biking or playing sports. It’s a good idea to see a doctor or dentist if your child damages his teeth or face.

If your child knocks out a baby tooth, don’t try and put it back in, as this can cause problems later on when the adult tooth starts to come through. Losing a baby tooth before it’s ready to come out usually isn’t a serious dental problem, but it’s important that you take your child to the dentist immediately for a check-up. Seeing the dentist and knowing that an adult tooth will eventually fill the space, and that pain or tenderness in the area will soon go, might help to reassure you and your child.

Losing an adult tooth is a bit more serious, but there are a few things you and your child can do that might keep him from losing his tooth permanently after an accident:

  • Find the tooth.
  • Hold the tooth by the top (“crown”), not the roots.
  • If the tooth is dirty, rinse it in milk or tap water for a few seconds.
  • Don’t let the tooth dry out.
  • Put the tooth back in its socket immediately.
  • Hold the tooth in place with aluminium foil. If you don’t have any aluminium foil handy, your child can bite down gently on a handkerchief.
  • See your dentist immediately.

If for some reason you can’t replace the tooth in its socket (for example, your child is unconscious), put the tooth in milk, water or wrap it in plastic wrap and see your dentist immediately.

If your child chips or fractures a tooth, keep the piece of tooth and store it in milk. See your dentist immediately.

 

Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!

We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family. Our dentists can help everyone in your family understand the importance of proper oral hygiene over time and the positive effects it has on your health. At Family Care Dental Clinic, we treat our clients to a soothing environment where they can receive quality dental care no matter what their needs are. Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at info@familycaredentalclinic.com to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!

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