Oral Health Life Stages: 7-12 Years Old
Now that your child has taken the reigns for their daily dental routine, your supervision is still needed more than ever. Many children in this age group tend to dislike brushing, and may even hoodwink you into thinking they brushed when in fact, they did not. (I know my son likes to get his brush wet and tell me he has brushed.) Keeping a close eye on their developing oral health habits is a great way to dissuade your children from cheating.
During these years, your child's dentist may suggest that your child get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in – before decay attacks the teeth. The first permanent molars – called “6-year molars” – come between the ages of 5 and 7. The second permanent molars – “12-year molars” – come in when a child is between ıı and ı4 years old.
Dental sealants are an easy, effective preventive measure. Once applied, they last about 10 years, and will need to be checked periodically for chips and wear.
If your child is still experiencing tooth loss, have him or her wiggle the loose tooth back and forth or eat hard, crunchy foods.
Be mindful about your child's snacking tendencies. Frequent snacking allows sugars to build up in the mouth, increasing the risk of decay. When your child does snack, offer nutritious options like raw veggies, plain yogurt or fresh fruit. Afterward, encourage your child to drink water to rinse away food particles.
Teach your child to avoid sticky foods, such as chewy candy. Drinks and saliva do not easily wash these foods away, so they have high cavity-causing potential.
Make sure your child is getting the recommended supply of calcium. In addition to building strong bones, calcium helps keep the teeth, gums and jawbones healthy. Milk and other dairy foods are excellent sources of calcium.
Good oral health extends beyond your home. The tips above are just a few ways to ensure your child will have the best smile everywhere they go!