Helping Our Children Have Healthy Teeth

Helping Our Children Have Healthy Teeth

Poor oral health is one of the biggest contributors of chronic disease in children. It can lead to cavities, cause pain, and affect how children are able to eat, function and perform in school. The providers at San Juan Health Partners Pediatrics are bringing children’s oral health to the forefront with a new initiative focusing on applying fluoride varnish to children’s teeth during their well-check visits.

“The best way we can help prevent cavities is using fluoride varnish,” said Dr. Brittnay Kimbell, a pediatrician at San Juan Health Partners Pediatrics. “We are working together with dentists in our area to make sure we can bring the number of cavities down and have all our children with happy, healthy teeth.”

While the initiative is open to all children up to age 18, the clinic is focusing on those under five who may not have established dental care. When a child comes in for their well-check visit, their parent will be asked if the child has a dentist or has received fluoride varnish within the last six months. If they haven’t, part of the well-check will include the opportunity to get fluoride. It’s painted on the surface of the teeth with a small brush and children can eat and drink right after, taking care to avoid anything hot. 

“If you are already getting a fluoride varnish every six months, this is not something you have to do. But if you missed your appointment, we are more than happy to do that,” Dr. Kimbell said.

Dr. Kimbell also encourages parents to establish a dentist for their child by age one and to practice proper oral hygiene at home. This includes:

  • Brushing teeth every day, twice a day for two minutes every time 
  • Before a child has teeth, rub their gums twice a day for practice
  • For kids about six months to three years, always use a smear toothpaste
  • For those over three, use about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste 

“Sometimes people ask, ‘why do I need fluoride if I brush twice a day?’ You only get a small amount from your toothpaste itself. To get the recommended amount, you need to be drinking fluorinated water and making sure you are going to see your dentist twice a year,” Dr. Kimbell advised.

Dr. Kimbell says fluoride is safe and effective at preventing cavities, which can cause a lot of problems for children. 

“The sad thing that I see is a lot of cavities to the point where it turns your teeth brown or black, and the child is in a lot of pain,” she said. “That just breaks my heart to see that when its something that maybe we can help with, maybe we can do something about. That’s why this initiative is so near and dear to my heart.”

To schedule an appointment for your child to get a fluoride treatment as part of their well-check visit, call San Juan Health Partners Pediatrics at 505.609.6700. 

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