Caring For Your Teeth

child with glassesAnything worth having is worth working for. This saying applies to all aspects of life, including having a healthy, beautiful smile. At Children’s Dentistry of Amarillo, Dr. Metcalf and his caring, talented team are committed to helping you achieve this goal. However, in order to maximize results, you as the patient must put time in as well. By pairing regular visits to our office with good oral/dental care practices at home, you will be on the right track to perfecting and preserving that shining smile of yours.


The first part of maintaining proper oral/dental care is brushing your teeth. For best results, brush two to four times a day, every day (preferably either in the morning, after lunch, after school, after dinner or before bedtime). Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste.

*Note, if you have a child under the age of 3, clean their teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

To maximize your brushing technique, your local Amarillo children’s dentist recommends the following:

  • When brushing, move the toothbrush in small, circular motions.
  • Hold the toothbrush at an angle.
  • Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth, and inside on all chewing surfaces of your front and back teeth.
  • Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before rinsing.

Once the bristles start to wear down or fray on your toothbrush, replace it with a new one immediately. Furthermore, to complement your brushing, be sure to floss regularly.


Flossing is important because it removes the plaque and particles caught between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t get to. Your Amarillo children’s dentist suggests flossing every night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before going to bed. To utilize a proper flossing technique:

  • Pull a small amount of floss from the dispenser.
  • Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers.
  • Guide the floss between the teeth to the gum line, pulling out any plaque or food particles trapped there.
  • Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go so that you have used your piece of floss from beginning to end by the time you finish.

Tooth Decay

How It Happens

Tooth decay is caused by the interaction of natural tooth bacteria and sugars from your everyday diet creating bacteria, which produces acid that breaks down tooth minerals. This process forms cavities.

How To Treat It

Your Amarillo children’s dentist can take care of these cavities by removing the decay, filling the tooth, and/or installing a tooth crown.

How To Prevent It

The simple way to avoid tooth decay is by sticking to a regular and thorough oral/dental hygiene regimen. This includes using good brushing and flossing practices on a daily basis, going for regular dental check-ups, and maintaining a healthy diet.


The most difficult parts of your mouth to clean are the grooves and depressions that form within the chewing surfaces on the back of your teeth. As a result, these areas are most susceptible to developing cavities when non-removed bacteria begin building up acids on the tooth’s enamel.

Recent studies say that 88% of total cavities in American school children are caused this way. However – never fear – there are ways to fight against them. Tooth sealants protect cavity-susceptible areas, such as these grooves and depressions, by sealing them up, thereby preventing bacteria and food particles from ever taking hold. These sealants last for several years but need to be checked during regular appointments with your local Amarillo children’s dentist.


Fluoride is a substance that makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water that is treated with fluoride and brushing with a fluoride-based toothpaste ensures a significantly lower risk of cavities. Your dentist can evaluate the level of fluoride in your primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements if necessary.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for babies and toddlers that is usually outgrown when their permanent front teeth emerge between ages 2 and 4. Nevertheless, in some cases, children might continue thumb sucking past the eruption of their primary teeth. This can be harmful as it can lead to improper mouth growth and misalignment of the teeth.

If you, as a parent, notice your child engaging in prolonged or vigorous thumb sucking, talk to your dentist and try taking the following steps.

  • Don’t scold your child for thumb sucking; praise them for not doing it.
  • Focus on eliminating any anxiety that might be causing the behavior.
  • Place a bandage on your child’s thumb or a sock on their hand before they go to sleep.

Contact Us Today!

At Children’s Dentistry of Amarillo, we understand how important it is to encourage good oral/dental health from an early age. Should you have questions on any of these, or other aspects of maintaining proper oral/dental care, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. We look forward to helping you, or your child, achieve a brighter, more beautiful smile!