Childhood tooth decay is unfortunately common, with 1 in 5 children from ages 5-11 having at least one decayed tooth that’s not treated . Since early tooth decay normally doesn’t have any symptoms, children can often have cavities and not know it until the decay progresses to the point that the tooth is compromised.
Fortunately, tooth decay in children can be prevented. Taking care of your children’s baby teeth is essential to helping them have healthy adult teeth, as their primary teeth act as placeholders for their permanent teeth. Here are the top tips to prevent tooth decay in children that you should know about!
Brush and Floss as Soon as They Have Teeth
While you can start cleaning your baby’s mouth before they have teeth with a clean cloth or a piece of gauze, it’s essential to start brushing as soon as your baby has teeth. Once your baby has two teeth that touch, you can begin flossing.
Brushing and flossing can not only help prevent tooth decay, but will help get your child used to a regular oral care routine as they grow and can eventually take on these tasks for themselves!
Don’t Let Your Baby Go to Bed With a Bottle
Baby bottle tooth decay, sometimes called bottlemouth syndrome, is a condition in which children are put to bed or allowed to constantly suck on a bottle that contains milk, juice, or another liquid that contains natural sugars.
While these liquids in and of themselves aren’t necessarily bad for your baby—although it’s recommended to avoid giving fruit juice to children under the age of one—constantly exposing the oral cavity to them can erode the tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay .
Encourage Healthy Eating
Good nutrition is essential for children, and it plays a big role in their dental health . A diet high in sugar can result in a higher risk for tooth decay, while focusing on nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats can help children have healthy teeth and gums.
While sweets don’t have to be completely off-limits to children, do your best to not make consuming sweets a regular habit, as sugar is one of the biggest culprits in childhood tooth decay.
Keep Regular Dental Appointments
Your pediatric dentist can help you keep your child’s smile as healthy as possible. Regular dental visits ensure your child’s teeth are developing properly, and help identify tooth decay before it has a chance to compromise your child’s smile.
Talk to your dentist about your child’s fluoride exposure too, as fluoride is an essential mineral that can help protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay . Your dentist can advise you if your child needs more fluoride to keep cavities away!
How Healthy Is Your Child’s Smile?
Do you follow any of the above tips to protect your child’s teeth and ensure healthy development? Follow up with your child’s dentist if you have any questions about your child’s oral care to support a healthy and beautiful smile!