This information will help you and your family have healthy teeth and gums that will last a lifetime. As a parent, you can work with your children to help them understand why good oral healthcare is important — and show them how to do it right!

Four Steps to a Healthy Smile:

1. Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

How fluoride works-
Every day, the enamel on teeth is attacked by acids produced in dental plaque. These acids can erode through the enamel and result in decay. That’s where fluoride comes in. As it reaches your teeth, fluoride is absorbed into the enamel. It helps to repair the enamel and prevent tooth decay. It can even help stop the decay process. You can get the benefits of fluoride from a variety of sources. It works on the outside of your teeth. At home, you and your family should brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Fluoride rinses can also provide additional protection. Your dentist can also apply fluoride to your teeth in the surgery.

2. Floss every day.

3. Limit the number of times you eat snacks each day.

Snacking and tooth decay:While fluoride is our greatest protection against tooth decay, frequent snacking can be our teeth’s biggest enemy. Every day, you and your family face snacking challenges. Here’s what you need to know:
It’s how often you snack that matters– The truth is that what your family eats isn’t as important as when and how often they snack! It all has to do with the “plaque acid attack,” Everyone has plaque bacteria in their mouths. But when these plaque bacteria meet up with the sugars and starches that are found in snacks such as sweets, biscuits, soft drinks, or crisps, the plaque reacts to create acid, and a “plaque acid attack” occurs. The fact is most snacks that you eat contain either sugars or starches that give plaque this opportunity to make acid. And each “attack” can last for up to 20 minutes after you have finished your snack. During this period, the plaque acid is attacking tooth enamel, making it weak. That’s when cavities can start!

4. Visit your dentist regularly and follow his/her advice.

The dentist is your family’s partner in keeping your Smiles Healthy. Be sure to schedule regular dental appointments for the whole family. A child’s first visit should take place before his or her third birthday.
Dental check-ups early in a child’s life allow children to have a positive dental health experience.
TIP: Take your young toddler with you to your own appointment first. That way, the dental surgery becomes a familiar place.

Your dentist may recommend:
1-Fluoride treatments:
Your dentist may treat your child’s teeth with extra fluoride in the form of a gel or varnish to make teeth stronger.
2-Dental sealants:
These are thin, protective plastic coatings applied by the dentist to the permanent back teeth (molars). They fill in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth where foods and bacteria can get stuck and cause cavities. Once applied, sealants can last for several years.

3-X-rays: Sometimes these are taken at this visit–these “pictures” are radiographs that show the dentist what’s going on inside the teeth and under the gum.

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