Getting kids to brush properly can be a little like bathing a cat. Combine that with some of the sugary treats they get from time-to-time and it is a recipe for disaster. So, how is a parent supposed to assist with preventing childhood cavities? It can be tricky, but we have a few helpful tips that can help keep your children’s mouths healthy.
Preventing cavities starts with good hygiene. Just like adults, children need to brush twice a day. They should brush before going to bed at night and when they get up in the morning. People disagree about whether you should brush before or after breakfast in the morning, but we think whenever you can get your children to brush is the right time. Your children should also be flossing at least once a day. We recommend flossing at night. The reason flossing at night is important is because mouths get drier at night, which creates a good breeding ground for germs and plaque. If there is food trapped between your child’s teeth, it will attract those germs and help promote tooth decay.
Another important thing is to avoid feeding your kids sugary, starchy foods. The more sugars in your food, including carbohydrates, the greater the risk of cavities. The problem is that so many childhood foods have lots of sugar in them. We are not opposed to your child getting treats. However, you want their normal snacks to be composed of healthier choices. Think of things like vegetables, grains, lean proteins, and dairy. People think about fruit as sugary, but the fruits in sugars are less likely than processed sugar to cause tooth decay. In addition, offer water with snacks and meals, because water helps rinse bacteria out of the mouth.
Take your children to the dentist twice a year. The dentist can check for any decay. They also provide professional cleanings, which can help keep the teeth free from tooth decay. In addition, consider the twice a year cleanings a minimum. Some children may require more frequent professional cleanings. For example, if your children have braces, they may need more frequent dental cleanings. In addition, if you struggle to get your child to brush twice a day you may want to schedule more frequent professional cleanings.
When your dentist offers you special treatments, it is not just to upsell you. In the office, we can offer two treatments that can help prevent decay: fluoride treatments and dental sealants. Fluoride treatments can strengthen your teeth, making them less susceptible to decay. Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating that can help keep food from getting trapped in the natural grooves of the teeth. Both of these can help reduce the likelihood of tooth decay.