WellSpan Home

Dental Care: 6 Years to 16 Years

Topic Overview

By now your child has been seeing a dentist regularly for years. Continue with your usual schedule. If for some reason your child has not yet seen a dentist, make an appointment for an exam.

More and more of the responsibility for good dental habits belongs to your child now.

What your child can do

  • Your child should be brushing his or her own teeth morning and night with a soft toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Watch to be sure he or she is doing a good job brushing.
  • Flossing is an important part of good dental health, but it can be a challenging task for a child to master. Talk with your dentist about the right technique to teach your child how to floss. Plastic flossing tools may help you and your child.
  • If your child has cavities, your dentist may recommend the use of a mouthwash that contains fluoride. But teach your child not to swallow it, because fluoride can be toxic in large amounts.
  • Use disclosing tablets from time to time to see whether any plaque is left on your child's teeth after brushing. Disclosing tablets are chewable and will color any plaque left on the teeth after the child brushes. You can buy these at most drugstores.

What you and your dentist can do

  • After your child's permanent teeth begin to appear, talk with your dentist about having dental sealant placed on the molars. Sealants are made of hard plastic and protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth from decay.
  • Discuss your child's fluoride needs with your dentist. If your child needs extra fluoride, your dentist may recommend a supplement or a gel or varnish that he or she would apply to your child's teeth. Use supplements only as directed. And keep them out of reach of your child. Too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child's teeth.
  • Good nutrition is important for building and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Give your child nutritious foods to maintain healthy gums, develop strong teeth, and avoid tooth decay. These include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates, such as pastries, pasta, and white bread.
  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke (secondhand smoke). Tobacco smoke may contribute to the development of tooth decay and gum disease.footnote 1 Teach your child about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke.
  • Children play hard, sometimes hard enough to knock out or break a tooth. Learn how to prevent injuries to teeth and what to do in a dental emergency. For more information, see the topic Mouth and Dental Injuries.

References

Citations

  1. American Dental Association (2009). ADA policy on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Available online: http://www.ada.org/news/929.aspx.

Credits

Current as ofMarch 27, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Arden G. Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×