Tartar is the ugly, hard, yellow substance that the dentist scrapes away during checkups. If your child has little tartar buildup, his or her dental visit is generally more comfortable due to the abbreviated cleaning process. However, if a large amount of tartar is present, your child will spend a longer time in the pediatric dentist's chair, and the lengthy appointment could cause your youngster to develop an apprehension about visiting the dentist.
Tartar forms when plaque hardens, and it can only be removed through a professional dental cleaning. Here are a few ways to help minimize your child's tartar buildup between dental appointments:
Offer crunchy fruits and vegetables as snacks.
Although you may offer crunchy fruits and vegetables to your child because of their nutritional value, these foods also discourage the formation of tartar.
Plaque is comprised of a mixture of leftover particles of food and oral bacteria. The sticky substance adheres to the surface of the teeth, and if it is allowed to remain, it hardens into tartar. The hard texture of raw, crunchy foods can scrape the plaque from your child's teeth before it has a chance to harden.
In addition, most fibrous fruits and vegetables have a low sugar content. Simple carbohydrates are the primary food source of oral bacteria, so if less sugar is introduced into your child's mouth, less bacteria will be present for plaque and tartar formation.
Keep gum around.
Most children will not object to chewing gum. Sugarless gum contributes no digestible sugars for oral bacteria to feed upon, but it also helps bathe the mouth in saliva to rinse away food particles and bacteria that form plaque and tartar. Each time your child chews, his or her salivary glands are stimulated to release saliva.
The stickiness of gum is also beneficial. It cleans the teeth by attaching to plaque and pulling it from the surface of the tooth enamel.
In addition, if the gum ingredients include cinnamon or xylitol, the chewy substance will possess anti-bacterial properties to help kill the bacteria present in your child's mouth.
Make brushing a family affair.
Although most dentist's recommend that their patient's brush for at least two minutes for proper plaque removal, this recommendation may be difficult for your child to adhere to without your supervision. Try to brush your teeth at the same time as your child, and make it fun. Set the timer on your cellphone or play music for two minutes.
In addition, choose a tartar-control paste for your brushing sessions to help discourage any residual plaque from hardening.
If you would like to learn more ways to prevent your child's tartar buildup, schedule a consultation with a pediatric dentist in your area. He or she can offer professional tips and advice to keep tartar at bay.