Oral Hygiene for Kids

Kids.Teeth can last a lifetime if you take care of them right — and the best time to start is just as soon as they begin appearing. By establishing good oral hygiene routines for your children right from the start, you'll give them the best chance of keeping their teeth healthy — forever.

Tooth decay, the major cause of dental trouble that can eventually lead to tooth loss, is actually an infectious disease caused by bacteria. If it takes hold, it can form a cavity in the enamel and then progress deeper into the tooth — causing discomfort, difficulty eating and speaking, and a need for fillings or root canal treatment. The good news is that tooth decay (also called caries) is completely preventable.

The primary route to good dental health is plaque removal. Plaque is the sticky, whitish film that builds up on teeth in the absence of effective oral hygiene. Decay-causing bacteria thrive in plaque, where they break down any sugar that lingers in the mouth. In the process, they produce acid byproducts that erode teeth. This is how a cavity begins. What are the most effective techniques for plaque removal and decay prevention? That depends on the age of your child.

Babies

Age one dental visit video

Babies can develop a form of tooth decay known as early childhood caries. This occurs when they are allowed to go to sleep with a bottle that's filled with anything but water. The sugars in formula, milk (even breast milk) and juice can pool around the teeth and feed decay-causing bacteria. When it comes to bedtime soothing, a pacifier or bottle filled with water is safer for developing teeth — that is, until about age 3. At that point, sucking habits should be gently discouraged to prevent orthodontic problems from developing later on.

Brush your baby's first teeth gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush, using just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, at least once a day at bedtime. Before a tooth is fully erupted, you can use a water-soaked gauze pad to clean around the tooth and gums.

Make sure your child has his or her first dental visit by age 1. There, you can learn proper hygiene techniques; have your youngster examined for signs of early decay; and get a recommendation for fluoride supplements if needed.

Children

Tooth tips for tots video

Starting at age 3, you can begin teaching your child to brush with a children's toothbrush and no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. But remember, children will need help with this important task until about age 6, when they have the fine motor skills to do an effective job themselves.

It's also extremely important to start encouraging healthy dietary habits at this time. Your child will have less plaque buildup and decay if you place limits on soda and sugary snack consumption. As a parent, you can model this behavior to instill it in your child. After all, monkey see, monkey do! Any sugary treats that are allowed should come at mealtimes, not in between. This will ensure your child is not creating favorable conditions for oral bacteria to grow around the clock.

At your child's regular, twice-yearly dental checkups and cleanings, topical fluoride can be applied to strengthen tooth enamel and make it more resistant to erosion and decay. If necessary, dental sealants can be applied to the back teeth (molars) to prevent food particles and bacteria from building up in the tiny grooves where a toothbrush can't reach (View Dental Sealant Video).

Teens

At this point, your children have the primary responsibility for maintaining their day-to-day dental health — but you can continue to help them make good dietary and behavioral choices. These include drinking plenty of water and avoiding soda, sports drinks and energy drinks, all of which are highly acidic; avoiding tobacco and alcohol; and continuing to visit the dental office regularly for cleanings and exams. This is particularly important if your teen wears braces, which can make it more difficult to keep teeth clean.

Remember, it's never too soon to help your child develop good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.

Related Articles

Dentistry and Oral Health for Children - Dear Doctor Magazine

Dentistry and Oral Health for Children Dear Doctor magazine brings you this wide-ranging overview of milestones and transitions in your child's dental development. Learn how to protect your children from tooth decay, dental injuries, and unhealthy habits while getting them started on the road to a lifetime of oral health and general well-being... Read Article

Oral Health - Dear Doctor Magazine

How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health Proper oral health habits are easy to learn — and lead to behaviors that result in lifelong dental health. And the time to begin is as soon as your child's first baby teeth appear. From toothbrushing for your toddler to helping your teenager stay away from tobacco, Dear Doctor magazine offers the most important tips for healthy habit formation through childhood and beyond... Read Article

Top 10 Tips for Children - Dear Doctor Magazine

Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children There's no need to wait until your baby actually has teeth to lay the foundations for good oral or general health. In fact, good nutrition and oral hygiene can start right away. It is up to you to develop the routines that will help protect your child from tooth decay and other oral health problems. So let's get started... Read Article

Dr. M N95 mask

**IMPORTANT CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 4/01/2020**

Dear Patients,

 It’s April 1st and our family at Metsger Dental were so hoping to have been serving your dental appointments by this time; however, this health crisis is still ongoing and controlling both our business and personal lives.


I am very happy to let you know that myself, Dr. Clark, and each of our staff and all our families have remained healthy throughout this ordeal. That accomplishment came at the expense of you (our patients) in the form of social distancing.

We have processes in place at this time to make it up to you when we are able to return.

What to do if you have a current appointment scheduled:

We anticipate most or all of our April appointments will need to be rescheduled. We are very disappointed but our staff and your health and safety come first at this time. No need to call and reschedule. When things begin to clear a member of our staff will contact you.

What to do if you have a dental emergency:

I have secured the proper (PPE) personal protective equipment including the N-95 masks necessary to see patients. These emergencies, as defined by the ADA, must include: swelling,
or bleeding with pain involvement. If you fall into these categories, please call the office number. The answering service will contact me.

I truly look forward to seeing everyone soon. We plan on returning strong with an extra clean and sterile environment and safety protocols.

I really appreciate your understanding and of course from our work family to yours we hope you stay safe and healthy.

P.S. Brush and Floss at least one or more times per day!

See You Soon.

L. Kevin Metsger

Contact Us

Questions About Dental Services in Greensburg, PA


520 Pellis Rd Ste 4000
Greensburg, PA 15601

We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest or
concern about dentistry procedures such as porcelain veneers, dental implants, and tooth whitening in Greensburg. 

 Contact us by phone at 724-837-5009.


Patient Forms

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Progressive Dental Studio

Monday:

8:30 am-7:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-7:30 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-3:30 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-3:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed