Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, is caused by bacteria eating away the enamel or outer protective layer of a tooth. Symptoms of tooth decay include toothaches and sensitivity, pain when eating something sweet, cold or hot, or visible holes in your teeth. It is possible though that there may be no symptoms even though decay is present – this is why it is important to take your child for regular dental check ups.
5 Ways To Decrease Your Child’s Risk of Developing Tooth Decay
- Don’t Share Your Saliva
Sharing utensils with your child or common parenting habits such as licking a pacifier clean can transfer the bacteria which causes cavities to your child’s teeth.
- Keep Their Teeth Clean
- Children under 1 year (before your child’s teeth come in): After each feeding, use a clean damp washcloth and gently wipe gums to remove any debris and cleanse
- Children under 3 years old: Use a grain sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
- Children 3-6 years old: Use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste
- Though your child may want to brush on their own, parents should always supervise children to ensure brushing is done correctly and be prepared to do a follow-up brushing to make sure no teeth are missed.
- As soon as two teeth emerge next to each other, begin gently flossing your child’s teeth. If you are unsure as to how to safely or effectively floss your child’s teeth, contact us for a quick flossing and brushing demonstration!
- First Dental Visit
Take your child to their first dental check-up when their first tooth comes in. The key is to start early! Our Children’s Choice offices are designed to engage your child in a friendly environment. We recommend role-playing going to the dentist to get your child accustomed to having someone examine their mouth. This helps to make your dental visits stress-free!
Sealants help protect the teeth against tooth decay. This simple material helps to reduce the risk of developing decay in both baby and permanent teeth. Ask your dentist on your next visit about sealants!
- Eat Healthy
A diet high in natural or added sugars places your child at risk for tooth decay. It is important to have a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks. Stay tuned for future nutritional tips to help your child grow strong healthy teeth.Try these easy, but tasty substitutes for a healthier smile!
- Replace bread with cornbread or coconut flour flatbread
- Replace milk with almond or coconut milk
- Replace starchy veggies with bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, spinach, avocados, cauliflower, lettuce, or tomatoes!
- Replace sugary snacks with cheese
Limit how much juice you give your child
- Before 1 years of age: juice should not be introduced
- 1-3 years of age: Limit to 4 ounces per day
- 4-6 years of age: Limit to 4-6 ounces per day
- 7-18 years of age: Limit to 8 ounces per day
The above advice should be discussed with your dental professional to adapt to your child’s individual needs. Contact our office today to schedule your child’s dental visit!