Start early keeping gums and teeth clean. Wipe infants' gums daily with a damp, soft washcloth; as teeth erupt, adult supervision of brushing is needed up to age 7 - brush with a small, soft toothbrush.
Avoid baby bottle tooth decay. Offer only formula, milk or water in bottle; avoid putting baby down with a bottle; wean from bottle to cup by 1 year of age.
Start fluoride use early. Check with your dentist or doctor to make sure child is getting adequate fluoride. Fluoride in various forms (drop, tablet, rinse, paste) help protect teeth from decay.
Make regular dental visits a habit. Start early - as soon as first teeth erupt! These early visits allow the dentist to follow tooth eruption patterns and catch potential problems early.
Offer nutritious, age-appropriate snacks. Children love snacks and they are important to total nutrition each day; make sure snacks are low in sugar and do not pose a choking hazard.
Seal out tooth decay. Sealants placed on chewing surfaces of permanent teeth after eruption offer great protection against decay; remember, generally the first permanent teeth erupt behind the primary molars (approximately age 6)
School based fluoride mouth rinse programs: Program is available to every school district in Southeast Idaho for no charge.
School dental health education: Programs available to all grades in school districts that contract for services with the health department. Programs are tailored to grade level and ability.
Community dental health education: Dental health education presented to church, professional, and civic groups; school and community health fairs
Wondering about how safe dental sealants are? Here is some science-based information from the American Dental Association.
Based on the recent news coverage of dental materials and BPA, your patients may ask you about the safety and effectiveness of dental materials. Below are some points that may be helpful in discussing this issue with your patients:
Dental sealants and composites have been used for many years. Sealants prevent tooth decay and composites are tooth colored dental fillings.
Resin-based sealants and composites are made from plastic. Some types of plastic have been in the news lately because of a chemical called BPA, a chemical that acts like estrogen. Some studies with laboratory animals suggest a disruption in normal hormone activity. This has led to speculation about the effect of BPA on humans.
An article that was just published in a medical journal assessed various existing studies on dental materials and BPA. A low level of BPA may be present in the saliva a few hours after placement of resin-based sealants, but based on current evidence, the American Dental Association believes that this low level and brief exposure time poses no known health risk.
Trace amounts of BPA may be present as a byproduct of the manufacturing process or with certain sealants (those with bis DMA) after coming in contact with enzymes in saliva.
The one-time exposure to BPA from sealants is about 200 times lower than the daily level EPA considers safe. Dental materials are far less likely to cause BPA exposure than other consumer goods such as plastic bottles and linings of metal cans.
The researchers say sealants and composites should continue to be used because of their proven benefits which outweigh potential risks of BPA. The researchers also say that BPA exposure can be reduced if a newly-placed sealant or composite filling is rinsed or wiped.
Talk with your dentist if you have questions about dental treatment.
Fluoride content of drinking water (well or public supply) in parts per millions (ppm)
DAILY DOSAGE 6 months - 3 yrs
DAILY DOSAGE Age 3 - 6 years
DAILY DOSAGE Age 6 - 16 years
Recommended Fluoride Dosage (mg/day)
Less than 0.3 ppm
0.3 to 0.6 ppm
Over 0.6 ppm
No Dietary Fluoride Supplement Needed
The optimum dietary fluoride level is 1 mg per day. Fluoride consumption greater than 2 mg per day by children during their tooth development years can cause dental fluorosis, resulting in mottled, discolored or pitted permanent teeth. The period from birth to five years is the time when developing teeth are most susceptible to developing fluorosis.
In the past, fluoride supplements were thought to exert their main anti-cavity effect through incorporation into developing tooth structure before eruption. However, compelling evidence exists that fluoride supplements have a great anti-cavity effect on the teeth after they erupt. This results from the topical benefits of the fluoride when it is initially consumed and subsequently from its presence in the saliva and gingival fluids that continually bathe the teeth.