Tooth decay is an issue that is more notoriously known to affect adults, but is in fact one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in children. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42 percent of children aged two to eleven have had cavities before. Luckily, cavities in children can be easily prevented by following these simple steps!
Start from the Beginning
“Prevention is key” is a saying that everyone has heard in regards to their health, and this is no different in children’s oral health. Even before a child begins to grow teeth, it is important to use a damp washcloth to cleanse a baby’s gums after each feeding. When teeth start appearing, you can brush your baby’s teeth with a very soft brush and water. Along with brushing twice a day, flossing once a day is vital to prevent plaque buildup in between the teeth. Teaching your child these healthy habits early can go a long way in how they take care of their teeth in the future.
Avoid Specific Foods
A large reason why tooth decay occurs is because of the foods children eat and the ingredients in those foods. Meals that have high sugar and acid content are the most corrosive to teeth because they wear down enamel over time. When we eat sugary foods, within 20 minutes the production of acid begins and starts to dissolve tooth enamel. To prevent this, brushing a child’s teeth immediately after each meal can prevent the decay of enamel.
A simple rule of thumb to follow is to avoid giving your child any beverages besides milk and water. It is best to also avoid giving your child any beverage besides water before bed to prevent any damage or decay while they sleep. If you must give them a different beverage before bed, remember to brush their teeth after to remove any plaque buildup.
Include Fluoride in their Daily Routine
Fluoride is used to help strengthen tooth enamel as well as help teeth resist acids that may cause decay. Before giving your child toothpaste that contains fluoride, be sure to check with their doctor to see if they are ready. Fluoride comes from many different sources such as: water, toothpastes, mouthwash, supplements, and dental treatments. Once a child is ready to begin using fluoride, their oral health can improve drastically.
Start Visiting the Dentist Early
We all know that prevention is key, and that statement is no stranger when it comes to visiting the dentist! A good rule to go by is taking your baby to visit the dentist before they are a year old. Doing so can familiarize your child with the dentist and give you the opportunity to ask questions about their oral health. As your child gets older, it is important to continue to schedule regular appointments to prevent any future dental issues.
If you have any question about how to prevent cavities in your child, give us a call at 720-204-8139, or make an appointment here!