Cavities, also known as tooth decay, affect at least 20 percent of children in the United States aging from 5 to 11 and nearly 15 percent of adolescents aged 12- to 19-years-old. Thankfully, however, there are preventative measures you can take as a parent to avoid cavities and provide your child with the best oral care possible.
To start with, you should consider beginning dental care before your child’s first tooth comes in. Though you may not be able to see the tooth yet, your baby’s 20 primary teeth have already developed during the second trimester of pregnancy. Run a warm, damp washcloth over you baby’s gums once a day to prevent harmful bacteria from building up. As more teeth appear, you can use an infant toothbrush and a small amount of kid-friendly toothpaste to brush their teeth.
The American Dental Association also recommends that you schedule your child’s first dental appointment by his or her first birthday. If possible, try to see a pediatric dentist. Because they are trained to work with children, they are capable of providing care for a wide range of kid’s dental health issues and can make proper specialist recommendations if needed.
Taking these measures as a parent helps your child feel more comfortable with oral health care as they grow older. Furthermore, by visiting your dentist early and cleaning your child’s teeth from the beginning, you are more likely to detect any potential problems like cavities or other issues.
Once your child turns two or three, and can spit out toothpaste on their own, they can start brushing (under supervision) with a pea-sized amount of paste. This is a great opportunity to start talking to your child about the importance of dental hygiene. The older your child grows, the more likely he or she will take better care of their teeth.
By pressing the importance of these 5 tips, you can better teach your child about oral health care and lessen their chances of suffering from tooth decay in the future.
Tip 1: Brush twice a day, every day.
Encourage your child to brush twice a day with ADA-accepted toothpaste. This helps remove plaque – the leading cause of tooth decay.
Tip 2: Floss Daily
Flossing helps remove the plaque that toothbrushes can’t get, like in between teeth and under the gum line.
Tip 3: Eat healthy and balanced meals.
This might be the hardest tip to teach children, but encourage them to eat healthy foods like fresh fruit and vegetables. These foods help clean teeth, whereas starchy, sugary foods produce acids that lead to tooth decay.
Tip 4: Encourage the use of fluoride.
Fluoride is the number one destroyer of cavities. By using products with fluoride, like toothpaste and mouthwash, your child can better fight and prevent tooth decay.
Tip 5: Use the right brushing technique.
Proper tooth brushing can make or break cavity prevention. Show your child the right way to brush: gently, back and forth, on the inside and outside of every tooth, and don’t forget the tongue! Also, be sure to remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
To ensure your child is in good oral health and to learn more about teaching proper dental care to children, visit Out Of This World Dentistry. Our expert staff can answer questions, arrange appointments, and much more. Visit us today!