Dental Care Resources for Members | Fidelis Care

Importance of Dental Care


Healthy gums and teeth are important for talking, eating, and smiling. 

How we feel about our teeth affects our self-esteem, how well we do at work and school, and how others react to us. Take care of your teeth for good physical and emotional health. Here are some ideas for good oral health.


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Dental Health | Tips & Tricks

➤There's more to a sparkling smile than meets the eye. We're getting to the root of dental care best practices with a series of tips that can help ensure your teeth are as healthy as can be.



Preventive Care | Dental Health

What can you do to maintain good oral health?
  • Daily oral care is important. Brush your teeth and gums with a soft bristle toothbrush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use dental floss daily to clean between your teeth.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months

What should you eat and drink for good dental health?
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. Avoid sugars and starches when snacking, and limit the number of snacks eaten throughout the day.
  • Avoid drinking soft drinks such as sodas and sports drinks. These beverages are a serious cause of tooth enamel erosion.
  • Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
Why is it important to visit the dentist?
  • Your dentist or oral hygienist does a better job cleaning your teeth than you can do yourself at home.
  • An exam of the mouth can provide early detection of pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions.
  • Your dentist can offer advice about protective measures such as supplemental fluoride and dental sealants.
How do dental sealants protect you from cavities?

Dental sealants are an effective, but underused protection against cavities.

  • Fluoride treatments and dental sealants help prevent cavities, especially in younger patients, who are often less mindful of their oral hygiene and habits.
  • In the same way that calcium builds bone strength, fluoride enhances enamel strength, which diminishes the risk of tooth decay. While most public water contains fluoride, additional fluoride applications can further protect your teeth.




Dental Care for Moms and Children

Take care of your oral health during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of many changes, including changes in the mouth and in your oral health. Improving oral health during pregnancy can also help prevent early cavities in children. Dental decay is an infectious transmissible disease. Mothers can pass on decay-causing germs to their babies. Good oral health for moms can mean good oral health for their babies.










Your Child's Dental Health Timeline

How do you clean your baby’s teeth?






From Newborn to Gradeschooler ⤦

Newborns (0-1 years)
Always clean your infant's gums after feeding.
  • Cradle your baby with one arm
  • Wrap a moistened washcloth around the index finger of your free hand
  • Gently massage the gum tissues

Infants normally begin teething between four and six months of age

  • When gums hurt, give your infant a chilled clean teething ring.
  • Once a tooth comes in, start to use a child's soft bristled toothbrush, with no toothpaste, in addition to massaging the gum tissues.
  • Schedule your child's first dental appointment. Your child should have an exam by a dentist before his/her first birthday or within 6 months after the first tooth comes in.
Toddler (1-3 years)

Continue to brush your child's teeth twice a day with plain water

  • By 30 months of age, all of the primary (first) teeth should have come into the mouth.
  • At age 2, begin brushing with a pea-sized amount (small smear) of fluoridated toothpaste. 
  • Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste. Observe to ensure that your child does not swallow the toothpaste.

Begin use of low fluoride toothpaste at 18 months

  • From 18 months to 6 years of age, children should begin using low fluoride toothpaste. 
  • It’s also advised that they don’t rinse their mouths with water. This will ensure they keep a small amount of fluoride in their mouth which helps to protect their teeth.
Preschool (3-5 years)

Water is the best drink for preschoolers

  • Another important dental health tip for preschoolers is that they should drink tap water throughout the day.  As all municipal water supplies in New York State are fluoridated by directive, this will help protect your child's teeth from decay. 
  • Recognize that shop-bought bottled water generally does not have fluoride in it.  Plain milk is also a healthy drink for children, and kids aged over 2 may also drink reduced-fat milk.

Encourage your child to stop sucking their thumbs or using pacifiers

  • Most children that develop this reflex stop sucking their fingers or thumbs between two and four years of age. To support your child in breaking the habit, try encouragement and preoccupation. For example, you could offer a reward or reward or treat, or mark progress on a chart.
  • As children tend to drift back into old habits, it may take several attempts to break the habit entirely.
Gradeschooler (5-12 years)
Children should be able to brush unsupervised by the age of 6 or 7 

However, it is important for parents to keep tabs on their child's dental routines.  According to the CDC, approximately 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.

  • Your child should brush for two minutes, at least two times a day, with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste
  • At age 10, teach your child how to use dental floss.

Healthy meals are important for healthy teeth

Encourage your child to enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods every day including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, lean meat, fish, and eggs.

  • Vegetables and Fruits, in particular, deliver important nutrients and vitamins to our bodies. In addition, milk, yogurt and cheese are excellent sources of calcium, which is good for teeth. 
  • It’s highly recommended that you choose dairy products without added sugar or artificial food additives.
  • Remember, you are the role model of healthy eating for your children. They learn about food by watching their parents, siblings, and others.

 Visit your dentist if your child damages their teeth

  • It's important to understand that children lose baby teeth at 6-12 years of age.  In preparation, monitor your child and encourage them to tell you if/when they lose a tooth.
  • If your child loses or knocks out a baby tooth, do not put it back in place. This will damage the adult tooth underneath the gum. 
  • If an adult tooth (that has grown in after the loss of the baby tooth) is knocked out or damaged, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. 


Let's Get Your Child Covered

Learn about New York State's Child Health Plus program through Fidelis Care. Almost every child is eligible, regardless of family income or immigration status. Only monthly premiums vary based on income, and can be free or as low as $15 per month.








Tooth Decay | Diagnosis & Treatment

These resources will help you to diagnose dental decay in the early stages, and provides guidance on symptom management.

What is dental decay?

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, is among the world's most common health problems. It is especially common in children, teenagers, and older adults, but anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants. If cavities aren't treated, they can lead to severe toothaches, infection, and tooth loss.

What causes dental decay?

Cavities are caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and not cleaning your teeth well. A sticky film of bacteria, called plaque, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat food or drink beverages that have sugar in them, the bacteria make acids that attack tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth, causing tiny openings. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth, the enamel breaks down, and cavities can form.

How do you know if you have cavities?

The signs and symptoms of cavities can vary from mild to extreme, depending on their size and location. They can include tooth sensitivity; toothache; pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold; visible holes or pits in your teeth; brown, black, or white staining on a tooth surface; and pain when you bite down.

How do you get rid of cavities?

Fluoride is a chemical that not only prevents tooth decay but can also reverse it at a its early stages. Most communities put fluoride in drinking water, so drinking tap water can help. Check with your dentist to see if a daily fluoride rinse is a good idea for you. Also, dentists and oral hygienists can apply fluoride directly to your teeth during an office visit.

If a cavity is too large, a dentist can prevent further decay by drilling and replacing it with a filling or crown. In severe cases, you may need a root canal or an extraction. Your dentist will have advice for you in these cases.




Gum Disease | Diagnosis & Treatment


What is gum disease?
  • Periodontal diseases, also known as gum diseases, are mainlythe result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surroundand support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums canbecome swollen and red, and they may bleed.
  • In its more serious form, calledperiodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and theteeth may loosen or even fall out. 
  • Periodontal disease is mostly seen inadults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats todental health.
What causes gum disease?
  • Bacteria in the mouth infect tissue surrounding the tooth,causing inflammation around the tooth leading to periodontal disease. 
  • Whenbacteria stay on the teeth long enough, they form a film called plaque, whicheventually hardens to tartar, also called calculus. 
  • Tartar build-up can spreadbelow the gum line, which makes the teeth harder to clean. 
  • Then, only a dentalhealth professional can remove the tartar and stop the periodontal diseaseprocess.
What are some signs and symptoms of gum disease?
  • Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Loose or sensitive teeth
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
What are some risk factors for gum disease?
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Stress
How do you treat gingivitis and gum disease?
  • Gingivitis can be controlled and treated with good oralhygiene and regular professional cleaning. 
  • More severe forms of periodontaldisease can also be treated successfully but may require more extensive treatment,like deep cleaning of the tooth root surfaces below the gums. 
  • To help preventor control periodontal diseases, it is important to brush and floss every dayto remove the bacteria that cause gum disease.




External Dental Resources

To learn more through CDC and Government-sponsored materials, check out these resources below: