Every parent dreads the moment when they take their child to the dentist and is told that they have cavities. Repairing cavities can cause kids a lot of stress, cause further dental problems in their future, and can even sometimes be quite costly. The good news is that cavities are completely preventable! Follow these simple tips each day to ensure an A+ report card at every dental visit.
The most basic and most critical element of your child’s dental hygiene routine is to brush regularly. Brushing should start when your child cuts their first tooth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny drop of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Make sure that children under 6 have close supervision while brushing! Help your children ensure that they brush every surface of their teeth, including those back molars.
Starting the habit of flossing daily starts early! Kids should start including flossing in their daily routine around the time that their teeth start fitting quite closely together, which typically comes between the ages of two and six. Flossing is a little more challenging than brushing, and is also much harder for kids to handle. Start by flossing for them, using a flossing tool that allows you to access the back of their mouth without causing them too much discomfort.
3. Offer water
Water is one of the best ways to keep your child’s teeth healthy and clean. Drinking water throughout the day can help rinse the sugar or acid off of your child’s teeth, keeping cavities from forming. Alternatively, offering sugary drinks like juice, soda, or sports drinks can introduce more sugar to your child’s mouth, causing the formation of cavities to accelerate even more.
4. Avoid sticky and sweet
Different foods are going to impact your child’s teeth very differently. Crunchy vegetables, like carrots and celery, are fantastic for your child’s developing chompers. However, food that is sweet and sticky, like caramel, jelly beans, and honey have a negative impact on your child’s teeth as their high sugar content and sticky consistency will make the sugar stick to your child’s teeth for long periods of time. Lollipops or hard candies that stay in your child’s mouth for a longer period of time are also major contributors to forming cavities. Avoid sugary, sticky foods as much as possible and, when you do allow the occasional treat, brush their teeth right after to keep that sugar from sticking around.
5. Serve lots of calcium
Making sure your child gets enough calcium will make sure they have what they need to grow strong and resilient teeth. Serving your child plenty of milk throughout the day will give them lots of calcium, but there are lots of other calcium sources you could also serve, such as broccoli, almonds, cheese, and yogurt.
6. Visit the dentist
Starting from when a child’s first tooth grows in, kids should be visiting the dentist once every six months for a cleaning and checkup. A dentist will be able to monitor your child’s developing teeth, make sure they don’t require orthodontics, and help guide you through making sure you keep on top of a healthy dental hygiene routine to prevent cavities from forming.