As a parent, you only want what’s best for your little one. Whether you’re a new mom navigating the waters of caring for your first-born, or a seasoned pro ready to start your own family softball team (sorry neighbor kids, all the positions are filled), preventing tooth decay in kids is never an easy feat. Because tiny hands and mouths don’t yet have the knowledge or the dexterity to properly care for their teeth, tooth decay is a common occurrence, and it’s largely up to you to help establish healthy habits and keep tooth decay at bay.
Read on to learn the four simplest ways to help prevent tooth decay so your kids can have a head start on a healthy, happy smile for life.
Like, duh! Do kids still say duh? Anyways, obviously oral hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent tooth decay, but implementing it is easier said than done! The easiest way to establish a routine that will stick is to lead by example and start early. These early years are formative, and their brains are like sponges, absorbing everything around them and forming habits and attitudes they will carry with them for life.
Nowadays, sugar is in just about everything we eat and drink, so it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what you and your kids are consuming regularly. Not only do tooth-decay bugs feed on sugar, but other diseases (including cancers) thrive on it as well, so it’s best to limit sugar as much as possible if your goal is healthy smiles and healthy bodies.
Fluoride is one of our greatest weapons against childhood tooth decay, which is why most cities and towns in the US and Canada have fluoridated public water supplies. It’s also why most toothpaste and mouth rinses contain fluoride, and most dentists provide fluoride treatments for kids. Fluoride is highly effective for preventing tooth decay in children because when teeth are growing, it combines with tooth enamel to form stronger, decay-resistant teeth that are better at fighting off sugar, plaque, and acid.
A healthy diet, a solid oral hygiene routine, and plenty of fluoride are all great starts, but oral health is complex and you’ll want a team of well-educated professionals in your corner. Everyone should see the dentist regularly—twice every year or once every six months—but especially kiddos! They are the most susceptible to tooth decay, so you should bring them in to see us often for regular exams and cleanings. Only we have the technology and the tools necessary to remove tartar buildup and detect disease and decay before it becomes serious.
While cavities in kids are very common and usually don’t cause too many problems if they’re filled promptly, untreated tooth decay can be a serious issue for a child’s growth and development. Not only can cavities be very painful for kiddos, they can also lead to poor performance in school, missed school days, and even behavioral and developmental issues. Not to mention, baby teeth set the stage for adult teeth to grow in properly, so it’s important to keep baby teeth healthy and decay-free to set them up for oral health and confidence later in life.
If you follow our advice, you’ll be on the right path to preventing tooth decay and promoting oral health for your child. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with your Cabot dentist, Dr. Fields at Patrick Fields, DDS General Dentistry, contact us today!