Smiles 4 Life, a preventative dental program solely focused on school children’s oral health, offers preventative dental services in the school districts of Pierce County. Smiles 4 Life increases access to preventative oral hygiene care by bringing portable dental equipment right into schools. They accept the Forward Card (BadgerCare) and no child is ever turned away due to a lack of financial resources. http://www.smiles4lifedental.org/about
Dental Health Tips
The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush at least every three to four months. When bristles become frayed and worn with use, cleaning effectiveness decreases. Toothbrushes will wear out more rapidly depending on factors unique to each patient. Check brushes often for this type of wear and replace more frequently if needed. Children's toothbrushes often need to be replaced more frequently than adult brushes.
Other best practices for toothbrush hygiene include:
Do not share toothbrushes. Sharing a toothbrush could result in an exchange of body fluids and/or microorganisms between users of the toothbrush, placing the individuals involved at an increased risk for infections. This practice could be a particular concern for persons with compromised immune systems or existing infectious diseases.
Thoroughly rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store the brush in an upright position if possible and allow the toothbrush to air-dry until used again. If more than one brush is stored in the same holder or area, keep the brushes seperated to prevent cross-contamination.
Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment such as closed container is more conducive to the growth of microoganisms than the open air.
Many people think baby teeth don't matter because they'll eventually fall out. The truth is baby teeth do matter. Primary or baby teeth are very important to a child's early physical, social and emotional development.
Healthy baby teeth:
- Foster good nutrition through proper chewing.
- Aid in speech development.
- Build self-esteem by providing a beautiful smile.
- Enable a child to pay attention and learn in school without the distraction of dental pain.
- Save space in the jaw that is needed for proper development of adult (permanent teeth).
How To Handle A Dental Emergency
When children are active, parents always dread the accidents that seem inevitable. When they do happen, knowing how to handle it can mean the difference between saving or losing your child's tooth. Parents should always be prepared for any kind of emergency that can happen whether through a sports activity or simply by your child being their usual self.
In order to be prepared, the WIsconsin Dental Association offers the following tips for how to handle some common dental emergencies:
Knocked-out tooth - It is important to retrieve a knocked out tooth, hold it by its crown, and rinse off the root of the tooth if it is dirty. Do not touch the root; the root is usually darker than the crown. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, put the tooth back in its socket. The mouth is usually numb after that kind of trauma, so it will not hurt to put the tooth back in the socket. It is the safest place to tansport the tooth, even if the dentist has to remove it and replace it again. Contact lens saline solution is not a good transport medium. If that isn't possible, or the child is too young to keep it there, put the tooth in a container with cold milk or cold water (not contact lens saline solution) and contact your dentist immediately.
Broken tooth - Rinse the child's mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. Use cold compresses on the area to keep the swelling down and get the child to the dentist's office quickly. Bring the tooth fragment with you.
Bitten lip or tongue - Clean the area gently with a cloth and then apply cold compresses to reduce the swelling. If the bleeding doesn't stop, take your child to a hospital emergency room immediately.
Objects caught between the teeth - Try to gently remove the object with dental floss and avoid cutting the gums. Do not use a sharp instrument. If you are not successful in removing the object, take the child to the dentist.
It also is wise to know ahead of time what arrangements your child's dentist has for handling emergencies that occur outside of office hours. Does the dentist have an answering service or paging service? Many dentists arrange for a colleague or a referral source to aid their patients when they themselves are unavailable.
What are sealants?
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars (back teeth) where food and bacteria are not easily cleaned out. Sealants help prevent tooth decay.
How are sealants done?
Dental sealants are painted on the teeth and they only take about 5 minutes to place per tooth. The thin sealants bond with the top of the tooth and act as a barrier to protect the chewing surface of the teeth from tooth decay.
Why should my child get sealants?
90% of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child's back teeth. Molars that are protected by sealants have a better chance of staying cavity free.
When should my child receive sealants?
When your child starts getting their first molars at about age 6 or 7 and again around age 11 when the second molars come in.