Health & Safety

February 1, 2013

How bright is your child’s bite?

Dental patient, Shane McVey, receives instruction on how to brush from Fort Irwin Pediatric Dentist, Capt. Kristy Hayes. Hayes is available to see children ages 8 years and younger who live on post at Fort Irwin.

February is Children’s Dental Health Month and at the Fort Irwin Pediatric Dental Clinic we love to see kids smile! Here are some tips to help keep those smiles sparkling.

Brush: Brushing twice daily with toothpaste that contains fluoride is an important part of your child’s routine. Fluoridated toothpaste may be used as early as the first tooth erupts, as long as you’re only using a small amount (about the size of a grain of rice). If you’re having a difficult time brushing your child’s teeth and can only brush once a day, before bed is the most important time to brush. While many children want to independently brush their teeth, it’s important that an adult help them brush until they are about 8 years old, this will ensure that no area is missed.

Floss: Do I need to floss my child’s teeth? Look in your child’s mouth, if their teeth are touching (there are no spaces between them), then they should be flossed. In some children, only the back teeth are touching while in others all the teeth are touching.

Healthy Diet: A healthy diet is just as important as brushing and flossing. Consuming beverages that contain sugar (juice, flavored milk, kool-aid, sodas) puts your child at a significantly higher risk of tooth decay. We recommend that your child consume only one cup of a sugar containing beverage per day and drink water and plain white milk at all other times. It’s also important to avoid snacks that are sticky (fruit snacks, raisins), because their sticky nature makes them more likely to adhere to the teeth and cause a cavity.

Aren’t they Baby Teeth? Baby teeth are important space holders for the adult teeth that are still developing in your child’s jaw. Many of the baby teeth will be with your child until they are 11-12 years old.

Dental Check-Ups: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child have their first dental check-up six months after the eruption of the first tooth or at age 1, whatever occurs first. At their dental visit, your child will have their teeth professionally cleaned, have a fluoride treatment and the dentist will check to ensure that the teeth are healthy and developing properly. The dentist will let you know how often he/she wants to see your child.
If you’re in need of a dentist for your child, and they are 8 years and younger and live on post at Fort Irwin, then Dental Clinic 1 and I am available to take care of their dental needs. Call 380-3284 to schedule an appointment.

My team and I will be visiting the following schools to promote dental health and complete dental screenings. Contact your child’s school for more details:

  • Colin Powell Preschool: Feb. 4
  • Lewis Elementary: Feb. 19 – 20
  • Strong Beginnings: Feb. 26
  • Tiefort Intermediate: Feb. 26 – 27



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