Did you know that approximately 20% of kids aged 5-11 years old have at least one untreated cavity? Cavities are tooth decay caused by bacteria in the mouth, sweets, and not cleaning the teeth properly. All children are at risk of tooth decay if they do not learn the correct way to care for their teeth. Starting good oral hygiene habits at a young age is critical to maintaining healthy teeth in the future. Thankfully, cavities in children can be prevented! One of the first steps to prevent cavities is learning more about dentistry for kids.
Keep reading to learn how you can help your child develop good oral care and prevent cavities so that they can have a beautiful, healthy smile.
Visit the Dentist Regularly
One of the most important things you can do to prevent your child from getting cavities is to take them to the dentist. Just like adults, children should visit the dentist every 6 months for a checkup.
A child should have their first dentist appointment by their first birthday. As soon as your child’s first tooth shows up, it is at risk of developing a cavity.
During the checkup, the dentist will do teeth cleaning, check for cavities, check for gum disease, and look at your child’s x-rays. This will give the dentist a good idea of your child’s oral health.
If your child’s oral health could be improved, the dentist can make recommendations on what you can do better. The dentist can also help stop tooth decay by recommending your child gets a filling or sealants.
Brush Teeth Twice per Day
A big part of preventing cavities in your child’s teeth is teaching them good oral hygiene habits from a young age. Brushing helps to remove plaque, bacteria, and sugar that can cause cavities.
When your child is just a baby, you should use a soft cloth to wipe plaque off their gums twice per day. Once they get their first tooth, you can begin brushing with a soft toothbrush. If your child doesn’t like brushing their teeth, try to make brushing fun!
Because it can be difficult to teach a child to brush their teeth, let your pediatric dentist know if you need help! Pediatric dentists specialize in oral care for kids and can easily teach your child how to brush.
Use Flouride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a mineral that can help to strengthen tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is what makes up the outer layer of the tooth and helps protect the inner tooth from damage.
Children can begin using fluoride toothpaste around the time they are 6 years old. Your child will be ready when they have learned to spit out their toothpaste instead of swallowing it.
Once they have learned to spit, you should switch your child to fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen their enamel. Until then, use a fluoride-free toothpaste designed for small children.
In addition to brushing every day, flossing every day is also an important part of an oral care routine. Children can begin flossing when they no longer have gaps between their teeth.
Flossing helps remove plaque and bacteria in between teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. Not only does flossing help prevent cavities in children, but it also helps to prevent gum disease in the future.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Did you know that certain foods are good for teeth? By encouraging your child to eat healthily, not only are you improving their physical health and teaching them good life habits, but you also will be helping to prevent cavities.
Foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D can help to strengthen teeth and make them healthier. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are full of protein and are good for your child’s teeth.
Fruits and vegetables that contain fiber help to keep children’s teeth healthy. Eating fruits and vegetables increases salvation, which can help clear bad bacteria from the mouth.
While there is plenty of good food for your child’s teeth, there are also bad foods. Children love sugar, but it is important to try to limit their sugar intake as much as possible. Sugar is one of the main causes of cavities.
Because sugar is so bad for teeth, it is important to try and limit the amount of juice that your child drinks. Many parents consider juice to be a healthy drink for children, but it actually harms their teeth.
Instead of giving your child juice, try giving them water instead. Water is good for teeth because it contains small amounts of fluoride. It also helps to wash away bacteria and plaque that is in the mouth.
By giving your child water instead of juice, you are creating healthy habits for them in the future. Water is good for both their teeth and their overall health.
Be a Good Example
One of the best ways to prevent cavities in children is to be a good example. When your child sees that you brush your teeth, floss, and visit the dentist, they will be more likely to do the same.
Children learn habits by watching their parents, and if you make good oral care a priority in your life, they will as well. In fact, several family factors determine your child’s predisposition to developing cavities.
Need To Know More About Dentistry for Kids?
Preventing cavities in young children is important to promoting good oral health in the future. To prevent your child from getting cavities, be sure to teach them healthy habits that they can carry into adulthood.
Do you have more questions about dentistry for kids? Does your child need to see a dentist? If you live in the Brentwood, Tennessee area, contact us today to set up an appointment or ask us questions!