Kids brushing teeth

Preventing Tooth Decay

New parents and seasoned parents alike often come into Timp Dental with one common question: How do I prevent tooth decay for my child? It’s no question that taking care of our oral hygiene can be tricky enough. It can be tough to make sure we’re always doing as much as possible to prevent oral hygiene issues from the get-go when it comes to our children. So, where do you start? Commitment and preventative care, of course! We believe that good dental hygiene starts with building healthy habits, knowing the signs of decay, and sporting a balanced diet.

  • Attend regular dental check-ups
  • Watch for signs of decay
  • Make oral hygiene a habit early on
  • Eat a balanced diet

When Do Regular Check-Ups Matter?

Preventing tooth decay in kids begins with going in for regular check-ups. Check-ups are crucial to good oral health. Visiting your pediatric dentist can ensure your child gains confidence in the dental chair. Dentists and fear shouldn’t go hand-in-hand. Studies show that regular trips to your favorite dentist can build lifelong trust with dentists. Their continued tooth care can happen well after leaving their pediatric care team.

Aside from building a great relationship with the dentist, those frequent exams are the only way to identify and treat tooth decay early. Although a complete exam and x-rays are the best way to prevent tooth decay thoroughly, you can look for signs on your own at home.

What Are the Signs of Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay at the earliest stages isn’t always the easiest to spot, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch out for the clear signs that it’s time for a general tooth cleaning.

  • Pay special attention to the gum line! 

Notice a dull, white line at the top of the teeth, extending to the gum line? Although it might not cause too much concern, this might mean you need to review proper brushing habits with your kids and talk to your child’s dentist about more frequent visits.

  • Look for yellow, brown, or black banding on the tooth surface closest to the gum line.

This is a clear sign that decay has begun. Of course, it’s not too late to keep decay from spreading, but sometimes brushing and flossing just isn’t enough—and this is a sign of progressing tooth decay. Although advanced tooth decay is rarer in baby teeth, it can still be an issue. Checking your child’s teeth from the comforts of home can prevent significant problems before they even begin.

Build Healthy Habits Now!

We all know the basic oral hygiene rules, but how often do we follow them to a T, and how soon should you instill those habits in your child’s daily life? The truth is, it’s never too early to start!

  • Just like you, your child should be brushing their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • Don’t forget the floss. Flossing poorly can sometimes be as bad as not flossing at all. So when your child is old enough, teach them proper flossing techniques, just like you’ve taught them how to brush correctly.
  • Make habits fun! If your child doesn’t enjoy brushing, help them find joy in their routine, whether that’s listening to their favorite song while they brush or incentivizing good habits with five minutes of extra play-time.

Do Foods and Drinks Play a Factor?

Yes. Bacteria heavy plaque is the primary cause of tooth decay. What causes this plaque to appear on teeth faster? Sugar. Unfortunately, as wonderful as sugar might taste, an excessive amount in your child’s diet or sugar left on the teeth is the leading cause of plaque build-up. That’s why it’s essential to monitor your child’s sugar consumption.

  • Moderation is key! Eating sweets might be a real treat, but keep in mind that a sugar-rich diet can lead to quicker tooth decay, even with proper oral hygiene. 

See Something Wrong? Don’t Wait!

Remember that, above all else, regular cleanings are an essential part of preventing tooth decay before it becomes advanced. The quicker the team at Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry can identify any potential issues, the quicker we can treat conditions and avoid further damage.

Depending on your child’s age, regular check-ups could be anywhere between once every three months to once annually. Of course, we’ll make sure to let you know—and work with you— to figure out the proper schedule to aid in your child’s continued oral health. We believe that preventative care, healthy habits, and fostering the relationship between a child and their dental care team are all keys to a healthy, happy smile.

Ready to schedule your child’s next appointment or have questions about proper dental hygiene? We’d love to hear from you!


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25 North 1100 East

American Fork, UT 84003

(801) 207-9080

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