Are you aware that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? And according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42 percent of children between the ages of two and 11 had cavities in their baby teeth and 21 percent of children between the ages of six and 11 had permanent teeth decay.
Nevertheless, cavities in children can easily be avoided. Prevention begins with you as a parent. Here are four essential components of an effective preventive plan for your child.
Prevent cavities in the first place
Try to avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle. Even babies can have tooth decay. Sugars from a baby’s teeth, food or milk can eat away in the the dental protective layer around a baby’s teeth. This could lead to ‘baby’s tooth decay’.
When your child is old enough to eat solid food and drinks other than breast milk and formula, be wary. Many foods and drinks are key culprits when it comes to tooth decay, in particular soda. Soda is acidic, even the kinds that are sugar free. Such acids produce tooth enamel damage and are more likely to decay the teeth. Also watch out for fruit juice. For your child’s dental health, drinking water is much healthier not only because the pH is totally neutral, but because it helps to replace the existing pH-fighting abilities of your saliva.
Sugary and starchy foods such s cookies, candy, donuts and chips, particularly if they are not quickly cleaned from your mouth, are also an issue. They feed the oral bacteria that cause cavities in your mouth.
Brush regularly, brush well
For many reasons, brushing your children’s teeth is necessary. It plays a key role in how kids learn to chew, smile, and speak. You will also help encourage lifelong behaviors by establishing good oral health habits early on.
Here’s how to brush the teeth of your child, depending on their age:
- Run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums before your baby starts teething to help remove bacteria.
- Brush them with a baby toothbrush. Use water and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- You can start flossing teeth two of your baby’s teeth meet.
- Your child should begin to spit out water while brushing around 2 years of age. Try not to vie your child water to spit out because it can make them more likely to swallow the toothpaste.
- Only a pea-sized volume of fluoride toothpaste should be used by children aged 3 and up.
- Please monitor children under the age of 8 while they are brushing, as they are still likely to ingest toothpaste.
One of the easiest ways to avoid tooth decay is to make children excited about regular dental hygiene. After all, brushing your teeth isn’t the thing that your child will get naturally excited about. But by selecting the toothpaste and tooth brush your child likes and wants to use, you can make it acceptable— and even enjoyable. Search for fluoride toothpaste that is child-friendly, with tastes and colors that are enticing for children.
Don’t be afraid to use fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral which strengthens dental enamel and protects the teeth against decay-causing acids in the mouth. From supplies of drinking water to fluoride toothpastes, rinses and cream, to fluoride supplements and dental treatments, there are many sources available. Please ask your dentist or pediatrician for a suggestion before you give your child some form of fluoride.
See the dentist regularly
It is time to arrange a dental visit as soon as your child’s first tooth emerges. The American Dental Association recommends that the first dental visit within 6 months after the emergence of the first tooth, but not later than their first birthday. The aim of the first visit shouldn’t be to fix an existing problem, but merely to allow your child to feel comfortable going to the dentist. Don’t wait until school begins or until emergencies arise. Get your kid acquainted with the correct dental habits today.
If you have any more questions about tips for your child’s dental health, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you!