October officially marks the beginning of holiday time, and as parents, you know what that means. Lots of sugary sweet and cavity creating treats!
Obviously, most parents want to prevent cavities from happening. Nobody likes to deal with cavities. Tooth decay not only affects your child’s health, but it is also painful (and expensive) to repair. As a parent, if you don’t teach your children the importance of routine dental care, they could face some very uncomfortable, pricey dental procedures. I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend that time and money on fun experiences with my family. That is why it is important to develop those healthy dental habits as soon as possible.
Most parents have a tough time judging how much dental care their kids need and when to start. To protect your child’s oral health, it is essential to understand the best ways to prevent dental cavities in children.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent cavities from happening to your children:
Make sure your child gets regular dental checkups, early
The ADA recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday. Consider taking your child to a dentist who specializes in treating kids. Pediatric dentists are trained to handle the wide range of issues associated with kids' dental health.
At this first visit, the dentist will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques and do a modified exam while your baby sits on your lap. These visits can help find problems early and help kids get used to visiting the dentist so they'll have less fear about going as they get older. Make routine visits to the family dentist a priority. Your child should begin seeing the family dentist as soon as his or her first tooth emerges and continue twice a year for life.
Create a regular brushing routine
Get your children to understand the importance of routine dental care: at least twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing. If you can manage, it is a great habit to teach them how to brush after every meal. But if you have hardcore snacking toddlers that may not be possible - you will drive yourself crazy!
But it is super important to try and stick to the same brushing schedule - once in the morning after breakfast and again at night after they have their last meal. You can make this activity more fun by joining in! Try giving your child a reward sticker after they complete a brush. I another great way to make it fun (and also help them brush for a full 2 minutes) is to use a light up toothbrush - you can find them in most pharmacy stores.
Limit certain foods and drinks
This one seems obvious, but many of us parents just don’t think about how certain foods can affect our children’s teeth. To prevent cavities from happening, you should avoid giving your child sticky foods such as honey, caramel, or taffy. Stay away from gummy vitamins as well. These can be difficult to remove from the teeth and contribute to acid formation and rapid tooth decay.
You will also want to avoid other sweets and starchy foods. Consumption of these foods increases the level of acid-eroding plaque in the mouth. I’m not saying they can never have sweet treats, but If your child eats A LOT of sugary or starchy foods, try to swap these foods for healthier items, like fruits and vegetables. And again try to teach your child to brush after every meal and snack when possible.
Avoid sugar, including and especially sugary beverages, like soda and juice drinks. This is not only good for your children’s teeth but their overall health as well.
Another way that oral bacteria can be spread that you should be aware of is through sharing food and beverages. To avoid swapping dangerous bacteria, teach your children not to share their food and drinks with others.
Now, there are a couple of foods said that you can add to your child’s diet that can actually help their teeth. Both cheese and nuts are rich in acid-fighters and help to remineralize the teeth, so make sure that is a part of their meals if their diet permits.
Make sure they drink plenty of water
Last but not least, make sure your child is drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This is actually one of the most effective and effortless habits for preventing cavities in children - and adults too! Water flushes bacteria from the mouth and prevents acid from building up on teeth.
Having your child consume more water-dense fruits and vegetables can also help keep your child’s mouth hydrated. Crisp fruits and veggies increase saliva production, which inhibits bacteria from sticking to the teeth.
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