8 Key Practices to Prevent Cavities in Kids
The overall health of a child is a parent’s priority and responsibility. And when it comes to ensuring overall health, parents should not underestimate the importance of protecting young children’s teeth from cavities or tooth decay.
Unfortunately, however, in Australia, the cases of childhood tooth decay are on the rise.
Research reveals that one-quarter of Australian kids have cavities that require dental filling. Also, one in ten children needs to have a tooth extracted due to tooth decay. Apparently, most young kids today do not have good enough oral health practices, which parents should have cultivated in them.
If you do not want your children to become a part of such statistics, we, at Bayside Smiles can help.
Our dental team in Melbourne, which includes a highly experienced and skilled children’s dentists, offers an extensive menu of treatments for protecting children’s teeth. Likewise, we offer guidance on how to instil good oral habits in young children.
To help parents with this goal, we have rounded up below eight of the key practices for cavity prevention, particularly for really young children.
1. Avoid sharing food and utensils with the little ones.
Babies and toddlers usually do not naturally have mouth bacteria that lead to tooth decay. They only get them through exposure to the bacteria. This commonly occurs when they share food and eating utensils with adults.
That being said, if you do not want such cavity-causing bacteria to proliferate in your children’s young mouth early on, it smart (and not to mention hygienic) to not share food and utensils with them.
2. Invest in children-friendly and cute dental products.
Purchasing appealing yet effective oral care devices such as cute baby toothbrushes and kids dental floss is one of the easiest ways to encourage your children to keep up with brushing and flossing regularly.
If they like what they are using, there will not be too much of a struggle in establishing an effective dental routine for them.
3. Do not put your children to bed with a bottle of milk or any other flavoured beverage.
A lot of parents are known to put their babies or toddlers to bed with a bottle of milk or some other sugary beverage in tow. This is a big no-no.
Make sure that your little ones are done drinking anything before brushing their teeth for bed. The sugar content of milk and other beverages will interact with mouth bacteria that can lead to cavities.
Additionally, when children are asleep, their salivary glands ease up on saliva production, which means that mouth bacteria do not get flushed away and are allowed to proliferate.
But, if your children really need their bottle for bed, make sure it only has plain water.
4. Limit your children’s consumption of sweets.
Sugar is one of the biggest variables in the equation for tooth decay. This is because bacteria in the mouth make use of the sugar from beverages and solid food to produce acids that cause teeth to start decaying or develop cavities.
Also, sugary food is not good for children’s health to begin with, so do avoid giving your children candies, baked treats and sugary drinks as much as possible.
5. Provide your children with healthier snacks.
There are natural foods that are known to boost oral health such as cheese, strawberries, and green leafy vegetables. Incorporate more of these into your children’s meals to strengthen their teeth against the attack of harmful bacteria.
6. Pay attention to how hard your children brush their teeth.
We always advise our young “brushers” to brush their teeth gently and in a downward flicking motion. This will prevent teeth from getting scratched and scarred, which may lead to the formation of cavities.
7. Pay attention to how long your children brush their teeth as well.
If your children already have developed motor skills for tooth brushing, make sure that they are doing the task the right way.
Apart from the proper downward motion for the brush, insist on a specific length of time for the task as well. Proper brushing should take as long as two to three minutes.
One of the ways to make those two to three minutes fun for the kids is to find a tooth brushing anthem. Look for a song the kids like that is two to three minutes long and make sure that they brush their teeth throughout the song.
8. Always use fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoride serves as a protective barrier for teeth. At the same time, it can also strengthen your children’s teeth and make them less susceptible to the acids that cause tooth decay.
If you really want your children’s teeth to be protected with fluoride, fluoride toothpaste is definitely the best source.
But apart from this, you can also request a fluoride rinse every time your little ones visit the dentist.
When choosing a fluoride toothpaste for the young ones, make sure that the product only has 600ppm of fluoride content. Anything higher this may lead to enamel fluorosis. This is a dental condition wherein white spots, or brownish stains develop on the tooth surface.
So these are our best practices for preventing cavities for young children.
All of these are easy to implement but they can make a huge difference in your little ones’ oral health.
For more information on proper oral care, be sure to always check out Bayside Smiles’ blog section.