Kids And Plaque Build-Up: What It Means, Why It's A Problem And How To Rectify It

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Kids, even teens, should not have thick, discolored layers of plaque on their teeth. Even if kids skip brushing more often than they should, plaque does not stick to young teeth the same way it sticks to old teeth. If your children see the family dentist, and he/she says there is a lot of plaque on your kids' teeth, something needs to be done right away. Here is what this situation means, why it is a problem, and how to rectify it.

Plaque on Kids' Teeth

Plaque builds on kids' teeth for only a handful of reasons:

  • The kids do not brush, ever.
  • The kids have very poor diets and eat a lot of sugary treats.
  • There are issues with malnutrition such that bone and enamel density on the teeth create large porous surfaces for the plaque to adhere to.

Obviously, none of these things are good, since it makes you look like a bad parent.

Why It Is a Problem

It is very difficult to scrape thick, discolored and hardened layers from kids' teeth without damaging the teeth. If your dentist has to scrape plaque off, he or she will probably have to apply a sealant over the tops of the cleaned teeth to keep the teeth safe and healthy. It is also a very long process for which most kids will not want to sit in the dentist's chair or sit still. The plaque can also affect gum health, causing children to lose teeth sooner than they should and not be able to retain adult teeth as the adult teeth descend. (There is also the very uncomfortable possibility of child protective services getting involved if your child's health, physical appearance, and teeth all show signs of possible child neglect.)

How to Rectify the Problem

Clear the plaque and then clear the dental record of this problem by following your family dentist's strict recommendations.

  • Change your kids' diet to exclude anything with a lot of sugar in it.
  • Buy your kids their own sonic toothbrushes. These are timed to go off and signal when brushing is complete. Kids also like the way a sonic toothbrush feels, since it gently vibrates against the gums and massages the whole mouth. 
  • Use an oral rinse prescribed by your dentist that prevents plaque build-up and cavities.
  • Enforce twice-a-day brushing, no excuses.
  • Keep regular (i.e. twice a year) dental hygiene and cleaning appointments.

Following these guidelines and improving your kids' diet and oral hygiene should eliminate the plaque on their teeth. If it does not, there is something else amiss, and a dentist, like one from Edwardsville Family Dentist, will help you figure it out.