As parents and other caring adults it is our job to protect our children. We want to raise happy, healthy kids who will go on to be happy, healthy adults. An important part of this is protecting our kids’ teeth from cavities.
Cavities are holes that develop in teeth due to plaque, which is a combination of food, saliva, and bacteria. If caught early and filled, cavities are not a serious problem. However, if left untreated the holes will only get deeper and may eventually compromise the integrity of the tooth.
When it comes to cavities, prevention is best. Here are some tips for protecting your kids’ teeth from cavities.
Teach and Model Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Daily care of your teeth is the first line of defense against cavities. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. Kids need help brushing and flossing their teeth in the beginning as they learn proper brushing technique. Model good brushing and flossing habits so they can learn by example. Developing good oral hygiene habits from a young age establishes a foundation for dental health that can last a lifetime.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a mineral that fortifies tooth enamel and makes teeth more resilient and resistant to plaque. Using fluoride toothpaste helps keep tooth enamel strong to resist decay from plaque. From the time your child’s first tooth comes in when they’re a baby, brush with fluoride toothpaste.
Take Your Child to the Dentist Regularly
No matter how well you brush and floss your child’s teeth or how well they do it themselves, some plaque will build up on the teeth anyway. Going to the dentist every 6 months for teeth cleanings and oral exams will remove plaque left behind after brushing and flossing before it can cause cavities. And in the event that a cavity does develop, regular oral exams will allow your dentist to catch it in the early stages so that it can be filled.
Rinsing with a mouthwash that contains fluoride can help prevent cavities in kids’ teeth. The extra fluoride in addition to the fluoride in your toothpaste provides even more benefit for your teeth, and the mouthwash can reach the small places between your teeth and gums where plaque can easily form and your toothbrush and even floss can’t always reach.
Dentists often recommend fluoride treatments for children. These come in various forms, such as mouth rinses, gels, and varnishes. A fluoride varnish is highly effective as it is painted on the teeth with a brush or swab and remains on the teeth until the next time you brush.
Some teeth are more prone to cavities than others due to the natural crevices and grooves in the tooth enamel. Dental sealant involves filling these spaces with resin, a dental material used to fill cavities. This prevents plaque from settling into the potentially problematic areas and forming cavities.
Diet and eating habits
Food and beverages that have a high sugar content can increase the risk of cavities. Sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth and is also sticky so that it clings to the teeth. A diet that is high in sugar increases the development of plaque on the teeth and makes cavities more likely to develop. Avoid or limit candy, soft drinks, sports drinks, and even juice. If your child does consume something sweet, have them brush their teeth afterwards if possible.
Another aspect of diet that can increase the risk of cavities is frequency of eating. If a child is constantly munching or sipping, the mouth is unable to produce necessary enzymes that protect the teeth from cavities. It is best to allow at least 2 hours to pass between eating or drinking anything other than water.
Dental Buddies of Vero Beach Can Help Protect Kids’ Teeth From Cavities
Going to the dentist every 6 months goes a long way toward protecting kids’ teeth from cavities. If your kids are due for a dental visit, Dental Buddies of Vero Beach is currently accepting new patients. We provide a wide range of preventive and diagnostic services to help keep kids’ teeth healthy. Getting started with professional dental care at an early age sets a good foundation for a lifetime of dental health.