Concern about cavities is a justified one! After all, healthy teeth are a core part of health growing for children of all ages. Due to a variety of reasons, cavities are a common problem for children between the ages of 6- 14. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to prevent dental cavities in their teeth! Walbridge Dental is here to offer some guidelines to help you keep your son or daughter cavity-free.
Schedule Their First Dental Visit Early
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that your child have his first dental visit by the time he turns one year old. While it may sound early, it’s not! This visit offers a lot of value for a child, specifically with regards to their oral (and overall) development!
Your child can sit on your lap, and we’ll walk you through proper brushing and flossing techniques. We’ll also give your child a gentle exam to ensure everything looks well inside his mouth.
While most first dental visits are routine and primarily helpful to get you, as the parent, on board with techniques to prevent dental cavities in your children, we can also potentially catch issues early. Prevention is key in dental health – the earlier we catch a problem, the easier the solution will be!
Reducing Bacteria & Acidity in Their Mouth
Cavities happen when food sits on the teeth after eating. Food introduces bacteria to your mouth, or helps feed the bacteria that’s already there. As bacteria consume energy, they release acid into the mouth which collects on the teeth. Over time, this acid softens tooth enamel, creating a hole – or cavity – in the tooth.
Here are a few things you can do to fight back against bacteria and prevent dental cavities for your child:
Fight Cavities with Fluoride.
You likely have heard of fluoride, whether in regards to water in your local area or maybe on bottles of mouthwash and tubes of toothpaste. But what exactly is it? Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, providing teeth with a “shield” which helps keep cavities at bay. It’s completely natural and can be the difference between a child with few to no cavities versus a child who seems to be extremely cavity-prone!
Many towns require tap water to be fluoridated, but if your family uses purified water, or your tap water is not fluoridated, you may want to ask for fluoride supplements. Your toothpaste may contain fluoride, too, but this is usually not enough to fully protect your child’s teeth. Make sure you speak with your dentist before using fluoride supplements, to make sure it’s the right decision for your child.
Brush Away Bacteria.
Brushing at least twice a day is the most basic way to maintain good oral health. The gentle abrasion of a toothbrush removes bacteria and food particles that could directly or indirectly lead to cavities. When it comes to preventing dental cavities for children or adults, brushing is the #1 recommended way to keep your teeth happy and healthy!
Kids should brush after eating foods containing sugar, or even after taking medication, as a lot of children’s medications contain high amounts of sugar. The less sugar stuck to the teeth after eating the better – it will cut back on the potential damage caused by bacteria in their mouth.
Make sure your child is using the correct amount of toothpaste, and spit instead of swallowing. Fluoride is great for teeth, but not so great for our digestive systems! While a little bit of fluoride won’t cause any harm, frequent swallowing of fluoridated substances may give them a tummy ache or other issues.
Floss, Floss, Floss.
You know brushing cleans the surfaces of your teeth, but it’s important to note that a brush can only reach 60% of those surfaces! The sides of your child’s teeth are just as susceptible to cavities, if not more so! Food trapped between teeth or plaque, which is bacteria that’s had a long time to develop, can be a major source of cavities in children or adults.
Routine flossing helps remove bacteria and plaque from between teeth. Flossing should be done twice a day, and after meals. If your child struggles with the act of flossing, there are plenty of tools out there to help. Threaded flossers, single-use flossing picks and even water flossers may be the trick to getting them to floss regularly without fussing.
Visit the Dentist
It’s very important that your child make regular trips to the dentist. This ensures that your child’s teeth are developing properly, and also helps your dentist keep an eye on your child’s oral health. If your goal is to prevent dental cavities then this is one step that’s going to make your life a lot easier.
As a parent, you also want your child to understand the benefits of these visits. Dentists can be scary for children, especially as they hear rumors or myths from their friends about big drills or pulled teeth. The reality is their visit will always be a pleasant one here at Walbridge Dental. Plus, the better your child is about visiting the dentist, the less likely they are to need things like fillings or root canals!
Eat a Healthy Diet
The right foods aren’t just for growing big and strong, they also help keep your child’s teeth cavity free! Help your child eat healthy by giving him fruits and veggies as snacks, and cutting back on sugar. The less sugar the better, but many chewy vegetables like celery can help clean the teeth by providing light friction during eating and supplementing saliva to wash away loose bacteria or food particles.
It can be exhausting, but as a parent, your best bet to reduce sugar in their diet is to check food labels every time. Sugar is hidden in all kinds of foods, especially for children. Even if it’s promoted as a healthy choice, you might be surprised at how much sugar is packed inside their favorite snack or drink!
Secondly, if you display healthy eating habits, your child is more likely to follow your example. Keeping healthy options in the home for them (and you!) to eat will go a long way to preventing dental cavities.
Do You Have Dental Health Questions? Schedule an Appointment!
If you have dental health concerns or are just looking for information, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.
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