How to Prevent Cavities in Children
Many parents today think that children don’t require the same level of dental care that adults do. If you feel the same, you might be surprised to know that about 20% of children aged 5–11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Among teenagers, this number is a glaring 57%, which is more than half the total teenage population in the country. In many cases, by the time the parents realize that their children have cavities, the only treatment options left are expensive procedures like fillings and crowns. In severe cases, infected baby teeth would have to be removed early on to prevent further damage. Removing baby teeth prematurely can be dangerous and can result in problems with chewing, speech, and permanent tooth development. As a parent looking to safeguard their child’s health, all these statistics might seem worrisome. Still, it is possible for you to avoid all this by following certain dental care practices early on with your child. Let us now look at some of the ways in which you can prevent cavities from developing in children.
Brush and Floss Daily.
It is important that children are introduced to regular brushing and flossing early on. You should start brushing as soon as the first tooth starts to appear. This can be done using a teething toothbrush and toothpaste designed specifically for infants and young children. More than keeping their baby teeth clean, this will inculcate in them the habit of regular brushing. Since young children might swallow a lot of the toothpaste, it is not recommended to use fluoride until they are old enough to be able to spit it out. As your child ages, you can also introduce them to electric toothbrushes that can efficiently clean their teeth. Floss sticks are also recommended for young children so that they can effectively clean their back teeth. Remember, it is important that you start young so as to build healthy habits.
Pay Attention to their Diet
Children are likely to consume a lot of sweets and sugary drinks during their childhood. A lot of the health drinks that are marketed toward kids also contain dangerously high amounts of sugar. High amounts of sugar can sound the death knell for teeth, especially baby teeth and developing permanent teeth. So, it is important that you pay attention to your child’s diet in order to reduce the chances of developing cavities. Toffees and sugary drinks must only be consumed in moderation. Sticky food that can get stuck to the teeth, like caramel, should also be avoided. A healthy diet consisting of water-dense fruits and vegetables can keep your child’s mouth fresh and hydrated, preventing the development of cavity-causing bacteria.
Get Regular Dental Checkups
As your child’s teeth develop, it is important that they get regular, professional dental checkups. A dentist would be able to identify signs of cavities in children early on and suggest treatment options, helping you avoid expensive repairs down the line. Uncommon genetic disorders like enamel hypoplasia can also increase the risk of cavities in children. Your dentist would be able to identify such enamel defects early on and start the necessary treatment. For children with healthy teeth, it is recommended that you visit the dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and check-ups. Your dentist would also be able to suggest useful oral care and dietary habits to help take care of your child’s teeth.
Get Dental Sealants
Sealants are an effective way of reducing the risk of cavities in children. A sealant is a thin protective coating that is applied to the chewing surface of molar teeth. It fills in the tiny pits and fissures on the molar surface. These fissures are hard to clean using toothbrushes, making them prone to cavities. Sealants are durable, cheap, and would last for a long time when applied to newly developed permanent teeth in children. The material used to make sealants is also non-toxic, making them safe for children to use. Discuss with your dentist to see if sealants would be the right option for your child.
For most people, childhood is when they are most prone to cavities and other dental problems. Thus, proper oral care is integral at that age. Proper oral care habits developed as a child would also carry over to adult life, greatly reducing the chances of dental problems at an early age. A lot of parents might think that oral issues like cavities are fine in children since the baby teeth would fall out anyway. Still, tooth decay caught early can cause future issues. Your child could end up with speech defects, face developmental issues in the face, or even have problems with the forthcoming permanent teeth. Thus, it is important to prevent cavities from ever occurring in children. Here at Desert Family Dental, we have a dedicated pediatric dentistry department that can help with any dental issues your child could be facing. Call us at (480) 485-7747 or schedule an appointment online using our website.