Did you know that one in five children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten? That’s a lot of teeth that will need to be filled! In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for preventing cavities in your little ones. Follow these simple steps and you can help keep your child’s smile healthy and cavity-free.
1. Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Be sure to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, and supervise your child while they brush to ensure they are using enough.
2. Limit Sugary Snacks and Drinks
Too much sugar can lead to cavities. Try to limit sugary snacks, drinks, and gum, especially between meals. If your child does have sweets on occasion, follow up with water to drink, and supervised brushing and flossing (until they’re about eight years old and can brush on their own).
3. Don’t Send Them to Bed with Drinks
A bottle of milk or formula might help soothe a child to sleep, but it can also leave residue on their teeth for prolonged periods. The unswallowed milk or formula can contribute to tooth decay and leave your little one with cavities that need to be filled, or teeth that need to be capped. Try to follow bedtime bottles with teeth brushing if at all possible.
4. Switch to a Sippy
With that in mind, switch your toddler to a sippy cup (one with a straw or spout) when they’re about six months old. Using a drinking cup rather than a bottle can also prevent the liquids they’re drinking from pooling in their mouth and leading to cavities.
5. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Seeing the dentist regularly can help catch any problems early and prevent cavities from forming. Be sure to schedule an appointment for your child with Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry at least once a year.
6. Teach Proper Brushing Techniques
Brushing properly is key to preventing cavities. Be sure to teach your child how to brush correctly, using gentle circular motions. You can also invest in an electric toothbrush for your child to aid their efforts; they’re proven to be more effective. Also, make brushing fun! Here are some tips from our team of dental experts: Tips to Get Kids to Brush
7. Use Fluoride Mouthwash
In addition to brushing with fluoride toothpaste, using fluoride mouthwash can also help prevent cavities. Be sure to supervise your child while they use mouthwash, and only use a pea-sized amount. The American Dental Association suggests using mouthwash in children ages six and older.
8. Have Dental Sealant Applied
Dental sealants are an effective way to help prevent cavities, especially in children. Sealants are a clear or white coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. This provides a barrier that helps to prevent bacteria and food from getting into the tiny crevices and causing cavities. Sealants can last for several years and are a great way to help keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity-free!
What To Do When They Have a Cavity
Sometimes, even our best efforts to avoid cavities aren’t enough. Let your child know that’s okay, and that having a cavity is a normal occurrence for many people, even adults. Talk with your child about a visit to the dentist to get their cavity fixed and, if they’re old enough, invite them to ask questions about the procedure. Inform your child about fillings, and what they can expect when getting them done.
How Cavities Are Filled
During the procedure, the dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then fill it with a special material called composite resin. This will help to restore the tooth to its normal function and prevent further decay.
Following these simple tips can help prevent cavities in your children, and help develop lifelong habits for good oral hygiene. For more information on dental health, be sure to schedule an appointment with our Timpanogos team today. Whether you need to come in for an actual cleaning or procedure, or just want to get your child comfortable visiting our offices, we’re here to help.