Oh say, can you see?

Oh, say, can you see my great teeth? When I was a kid, Dr. Dave, my dad, often sang the Star Spangled Banner while he helped us brush our teeth. The song takes about 2 minutes to sing – plenty of time to reach every baby tooth in the mouth.

I grew to love the Land of the Free and teeth free of cavities! One of the best ways to ensure your child’s dental health is to limit the amount of sugar they eat.

Gummy and chewy types of sugary snacks often cause the most damage because they stick to the surfaces of the teeth, especially in the grooves and pits of molars. Over time cause decalcification and breakdown of enamel on the teeth – cavities!

Gummy vitamins are one of the most common culprits. If your children do eat these kinds of snacks, make sure they brush their teeth as soon as possible after eating.

At around age 2, it is okay for your child to begin using a “smear” of fluoride-containing toothpaste – just be sure to teach her to spit out the toothpaste to avoid over-consumption of fluoride. Like adults, children need to brush their teeth twice a day.

By age 3, most children are able to brush their own teeth, but you should continue to “help” the child and monitor for proper cleaning until the child is truly proficient. We usually recommend children start flossing their teeth once their teeth begin to touch in between. This often happens around age 6, when their first permanent molars come in. Using bubble gum or peppermint flavored floss can help make this a good experience for them.

Visits to the dentist usually start when a child is 12 months old. Just like adults, children should visit the dentist every six months for regular cleanings and check-ups. We love kids, and it’s very important to us that they feel safe and comfortable in our dental chairs. And because our office is so home-like and our staff is so gentle and caring, children tend to be at ease here. In addition to singing songs, we have prizes for good behavior!

Like everything associated with parenting, setting a good example early is most important. You don’t have to be a dentist’s kid to set a good example. Take care of your own teeth and make it fun for your children to do the same!