Up to 42% of kids between two and eleven years have cavities in their primary teeth, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While this might seem surprising, cavities in children can start way earlier than you would think. In fact, kids younger than two years are the most vulnerable to tooth cavities, especially if healthy dental habits are not adopted with kids to help prevent cavities from occurring.
A child’s smile is definitely one of the most beautiful sights you can experience, so you’ll want to do your best to prevent early childhood cavities. The earlier you start, the better. It’s important to understand that baby tooth decay is a serious, transmissible and infectious disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection if you don’t take the right precautions.
Here are some effective tips to help you prevent tooth cavities in children:
Prevention Starts With You
Mothers and pregnant women are encouraged to get a professional dental examination and ensure that they practice good daily oral hygiene. Prevention has to start with you as this will help reduce the chances of transmitting cavity germs to your baby and ending up paying for dental solutions like composite fillings early in your child’s life. Make sure you’re brushing and flossing your teeth a required, as well as eating healthy foods. Oral bacteria can easily be spread through sharing food, beverages and even by kissing your infant, so be cautious.
Embrace Routine Dental Care for Your Kids
Just because your infant is breastfeeding doesn’t mean that you ignore dental care and its role in understanding how to prevent cavities in children. Before your baby’s first teeth appear, gently wipe the inside of their mouths and gums with a clean, damp cloth after feeding and right before bed, to get rid of any harmful bacteria. Once baby teeth appear, start brushing them with a soft “age-appropriate baby brush” twice a day with a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
Depending on the age of your kid, you can either perform or assist with the tooth brushing. Supervision is key as kids at a younger age are likely to swallow toothpaste. Everyone knows the importance of brushing teeth when it comes to preventing cavities in children, but how about those hard to reach places like the back teeth or in between the teeth? This is where flossing comes in. You can begin flossing your baby’s teeth once they start touching, at least once a day.
Some extra tips include:
- Always brush the tongue
- Brush in tiny circles on your kid’s teeth and gums
- Brush their teeth for at least two minutes per session
- Replace your toothbrush every three months
Visit Your Family Dentist Regularly
It’s a good idea to visit your family dentist regularly. These “active maintenance visits” are critical as soon as your kid’s first tooth appears. Dental visits should be done at least every six months. During these visits, your kid will get professional teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments, or sealant applicants when necessary. Your family dentist will also remind you of the importance of preventing cavities in children.
Make Smart Food and Drink Choices
Your kid’s diet, including drinks, even at a tender age, significantly impacts his or her teeth. You’ll want to avoid giving your kids too much sugar via sweets, sugary drinks like sodas and juices, candies, and starches like white bread which can increase the chances of getting cavities. Instead, go for healthier snacks and foods such as peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables. Drinking water regularly is also recommended to prevent cavities.
While learning how to prevent cavities in children is a great thing for parents, taking the necessary steps to ensure dental health for your kids is another thing altogether. You need to adopt and practice these steps consistently to ensure good dental hygiene. Regular dental checkups, proper brushing, flossing, fluoride use, and easting health, when combined, reduce the risks for cavities, and provide your kids with life lessons about health dental care habits.
If you’re looking for professional dental services to help you prevent cavities in children, feel free to contact us at Children’s Dentistry. We have multiple pediatric dentistry locations throughout the Las Vegas region, including North Las Vegas, Paradise, and Pahrump, so find the office nearest you and schedule an appointment today!