Oral Hygiene Tips for Children (Ages 7–9)
As we grow and change, so does our oral health. Your children will need different oral hygiene habits and dental treatments at different stages of their lives. That’s why we’re focusing on oral health advice for different age groups in our Oral Hygiene Tips blog series.
In our last post, we discussed oral hygiene tips for infants to preschoolers (ages 0–6). Today, let’s discuss oral hygiene tips for kids who are a bit older: ages 7–9.
The Importance of Dental Sealants for Your Child
You may have heard of twelve-year molars, but did you know that your first permanent molars actually erupt between the ages of six and seven? Although you’re still just a child, these are permanent. That means it’s important to take care of these teeth in particular since they’ll need to last your entire life.
If your child’s permanent molars have begun to erupt, our pediatric dentist can apply dental sealants to protect them. Dental sealants are thin protective coatings painted onto the chewing surface of your child’s molars. They cover the deep grooves and divots in your child’s back teeth, preventing food particles from sticking and plaque from developing.
According to the , dental sealants can protect against up to 80% of cavities. Studies have shown that children without sealants have nearly three times more cavities in their six-year molars than children with sealants.
How Sugar Affects Your Child’s Oral Health
It’s never too early to teach your child that sugary foods and drinks lead to cavities. Let’s take a quick look at how the process actually works:
- Your child eats food that is high in sugar and other carbohydrates.
- These sugars form a film on your child’s teeth known as plaque.
- Certain bacteria in your child’s mouth consume the plaque and produce acid as a result.
- This acid will weaken your child’s tooth enamel.
- Weakened tooth enamel makes it easier for food particles and other bacteria to enter the tooth and create a cavity.
Although your child may love sugary snacks and soft drinks, it’s important to teach them at a young age how too much sugar can result in problems with both their oral health and their overall health. Consider setting rules in your house so your child can only have their favorite sugary snacks on special occasions.
Remember, brushing and flossing can help interrupt the cavity process listed above. Make sure your child understands that brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing daily can prevent cavities, even if they do enjoy a sugary treat every once in a while.
Why Your Child Should Commit to Six-Month Teeth Cleanings
It’s important to get in the habit of taking your child to the dentist every six months. That way, we can monitor the development of their teeth and respond to any problems before they develop into dental emergencies. Our dental hygienists can also clean your child’s teeth professionally, removing any plaque or tartar buildup so they don’t develop cavities.
Additionally, around this age, you’ll typically want to schedule your child’s first orthodontic visit. Because your child already has their six-year molars, an orthodontist will be able to evaluate how your child’s permanent teeth are coming in and determine if your child may need braces.
Keep Your Child’s Oral Health on the Right Track
Your child’s oral health needs are starting to change. Our Hudsonville, MI, children’s dentist can help you keep your child’s oral health on the right track. Call Hudsonville Dental Kids today at (616) 209-4039, or contact us online to schedule an appointment.