I am so glad you are reading this article about dental care for kids. It’s written for children and I’ll let you in on a secret. You’re very lucky because a trip to the dental office is really great fun! There are video games, massage chairs, big pictures taken of your teeth so you can understand what the dentist is talking about and there are even cartoons on the TV in the room where they clean your teeth. Of course, the real reasons you go to the dentist are to have your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist and have them checked by a dentist for cavities and other concerns. Years ago dental offices smelled funny and were very boring, but now dental offices are awesome, so remember how lucky you are.
A dental cleaning involves polishing your teeth to remove plaque off all sides of your teeth. “Plaque” is a white film that covers your teeth and eats holes in your teeth known as “cavities” or “decay”. Think of plaque like little ants (called “bacteria”) that get on your teeth and work hard to eat your tooth.
The cavities can form on the top of your teeth where you chew your food or in between your teeth and usually make your teeth turn brown or black in color. The “dental hygienist” is like a nurse and uses a professional toothbrush to polish your teeth so all the plaque is removed and makes your teeth look whiter and gives you a nicer smile.
The dentist can take pictures of your teeth with a camera (as shown above) and they also can take “x-rays” of your teeth, which are a special kind picture that can show whether plaque have made holes in between your teeth (as shown below).
The area between your teeth is hard to reach with a toothbrush and this is why cavities often form in between your teeth. Brushing your teeth with a toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste gets most of the surfaces of your teeth clean. To get your teeth fully clean, you must use “floss”, a string that goes in between your teeth to remove the plaque and stop cavities from forming in between your teeth. The dental hygienist will help you learn how to properly use floss every day to fully clean your teeth.
Plaque (the little ants) covers your teeth more when you drink soda, eat a lot of chips and especially when you do not clean your teeth well with toothbrush and floss. Remember, dirty teeth cause cavities or holes in your teeth. If your tooth get a cavity, then the dentist will need to clean out the cavities with a special tool called a “handpiece” and fill the hole with a special material called a “filling”. This makes your tooth healthy again and makes the cavity or hole go away.
Make sure you brush and floss your teeth at least two times every day in the morning after breakfast and at night before you go to bed. During the summer brush and floss your teeth after you eat lunch to keep your teeth extra clean.