February: Kids’ Dental Health Month

By Dr. Sona Isharani

For those of you that have never had tooth or gum issues, congratulations! Everyone else who suffers with cavities and / or gum problems, you understand the value of a comprehensive cavity prevention routine.

Teeth and a beautiful smile are one of those things that we often take for granted, until we have an issue. I am blessed to work with minors and their parents from their very first tooth (or first dental visit, recommended by age 1) until the patients graduate from my practice with their now adult teeth and needs or they go off to college.

Baby teeth are very important and can be present until children reach 13 years of age! Primary teeth help us bite, chew, speak correctly, save space and guide permanent teeth into place.

For solid oral health foundation and cavity prevention, it is recommended to:

1. Brush teeth with a soft bristle brush as soon as they are 1/2 way in the mouth. (Usually first tooth appears around age 6 months).
2. Discontinue any bottles filled with milk or juice to bed, as soon as teeth appear in the mouth.
3. Floss teeth wherever they are touching and the brush cannot reach.
4. Drink or cook with adequately fluoridated water. (It helps the developing teeth and the teeth in your mouth on a systemic level.)
5. Help your child brush their teeth 2X daily with a smear of fluoridated tooth paste once they are 2 years old.
6. Children should receive supervision and help with brushing and flossing until they are 9-10 years of age.
7. Spend extra time on back molars, where there are lots of fissures, grooves, pits and where decay can easily start.
8. If a child has especially “groovy" back teeth, we suggest sealing them as a preventative measure...to aid in helping keep these areas clean. (Reminder: these are permanent teeth and the child will have them for the rest of his/her life (if they are cared for properly).
9. Maintain a healthy diet and avoid snacking on and sipping on sugary things all day. (I.e. this includes but is not limited to: fruit snacks, dried fruit, and any type of juice, sweet tea, sodas, chocolate milk, and sports drinks).
10. Choose snacks and treats that “wash off" your teeth easily (i.e. raw fruits, veggies, cheese, pudding, yogurt, limited amounts of plain chocolate).
11. If you are going to indulge in chewing gum, be sure to pick a sugar-free type that is sweetened with Xylitol.
12. Avoid ice chewing, it is bad for your teeth and could eventually crack them.
13. Always go to bed with a clean mouth. Drink only water after your evening brushing and flossing.

Cavities risk is very individual and I evaluate each of my patient's cavities risk at each appointment; depending on their diet, Fluoride status, hygiene practices and appearance, family history, etc. The risk of cavities can change from appointment to appointment. It is not static. Accordingly, I give patient-specific recommendations and solutions. Contrary to what insurance companies want us to believe, there is no one size fits all recipe for cavity prevention... they are general guidelines.

If you have more specific concerns, ask your child's Pediatric Dentist.

Happy and Healthy Smiles!!!

If you have any Pediatric Dental Questions, send them to me or Saathee magazine and I will try to answer them in future issues.


Dr. Isharani is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and practices in Greensboro, NC. Contact: info@triadpediatricdentistry.com (Attn: Dr. Sona)