Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, and what’s worse is that 20% of children’s cavities are left untreated. But there’s good news: cavities are nearly 100% preventable. Follow these seven steps to prevent cavities in your children’s teeth, and save a trip to the dentist!
Pick a Dental Home by Age One
Pediatric dental offices like ours seek to foster a fun and inviting environment that is specifically designed for children. Pediatric dentists have had 2-3 years of special training to care for young children and adolescents. Choose a pediatric dental home for your child before their first birthday to establish a consistent oral care routine, and prevent cavities.
Avoid Baby Bottle Mistakes
Baby bottles give toddlers great comfort, but misusing them can cause tooth decay and other oral problems. To avoid cavities, never put juice or sugary liquids in their baby bottle. If your child is accustomed to sugary liquids in their bottle, try diluting the drink with water. Gradually increase the amount of water until they are only drinking water.
Begin a Good Cleaning Routine Early
Just because your toddler doesn’t have teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean their mouth! You can clean toddler’s gums with a clean, damp cloth by gently running away residual food. By doing this, you are actually improving the health of the baby teeth that will soon erupt, and familiarizing them with oral care early in their life.
Brush and Floss with Them
A great way to get your children to brush and floss is by brushing with them! It’s a fun way for you to guide them into a healthy brushing routine, and it also gives you the chance to monitor their progress and brush time. Additionally, it helps everyone involved become more accountable for their mouth care!
Avoid Sugary Drinks
When left on your teeth, sugar gives bacteria the food it needs to thrive and create cavities, which is why you should avoid sugary drinks. Beverages like soda, fruit juice and sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar that damage teeth, and affect your overall health. Try giving your children water, or diluted fruit juice to cut back on the amount of sugar they intake.
Limit Starchy Foods
Crackers, potato chips and other starchy foods can get stuck in the small areas of tooth surfaces. Without proper brushing, these foods provide sugar to bacteria that feed on it which ultimately leads to tooth decay. If they do eat starchy foods, have them floss and brush approximately 30 minutes after their meal. They can also swish cool water to get rid of starchy food debris.
Add More Dairy to Your Child’s Diet
Enamel is the first line of defense for teeth, so it’s important to keep it strong. Dairy products neutralize damaging acids that eat away teeth and are rich in casein, an enamel protecting substance. Give your kids healthy dairy products like milk, non-fat greek yogurt or cheese with every meal to boost their enamel strength.
Detect Cavities Early
Tooth decay is painful and can affect the overall health of developing mouths, which is why early treatment is the best way to handle cavities. Routine checkups every six months are the best way to stay on top of your child’s oral health.
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