No matter how old your child is, it's never too late to protect their teeth with preventative dental care. Children start to lose their milk teeth at about 5–6 years old. This process continues until somewhere between the ages of 10 and 12 years old. By keeping your child's milk teeth healthy, you can prevent overcrowding and crookedness issues, which often require costly orthodontic care.
Protect your child's baby teeth before they fall out with the following preventative dental treatments.
1. Dental sealants
Dental sealants are ideal for molars because the biting surfaces of molars are covered with deep pits and grooves. These pits on molars are prone to tooth decay. This is because food lodges in the pits and grooves and remains there after meals. Oral bacteria, which cause cavities, then feed on that food and damage the enamel by producing acid.
Your dentist can protect your child's molars by filling the pits and grooves of the molars with dental sealant. Dental sealant is a medical-grade plastic substance that covers the biting surface of molars, keeping food and bacteria at bay.
2. Dental cleanings
No matter how well your child brushes and flosses, plaque may still build up on some areas of their teeth. Plaque eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar is acidic and can damage both teeth and gums, leading to gum disease and tooth decay. Keep your child's teeth plaque and tartar free with biannual dental cleanings to scrape away tartar.
3. Fluoride treatments
Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel casing of teeth and protects them against mineral loss. Your dentist can apply fluoride directly to your child's teeth with fluoride gels or varnishes. Fluoride can also help teeth to repair themselves when early demineralization occurs. You can bolster the effects of fluoride treatments by buying fluoride-rich toothpaste for your child to brush their teeth with.
4. Dental examinations
The simplest and most noninvasive way to protect your child's milk teeth is to take your child for regular dental checkups at a pediatric or family dentistry clinic. Dental checkups can identify problems in their early stages. And a dentist can also give advice on diet and oral hygiene approaches if they feel that your child's oral health can be improved that way.
These four preventative dental treatments can help to keep your child's milk teeth healthy until they are ready to be replaced with adult teeth. Speak to a pediatric dentist to learn more.