Cavities are the most common oral health problem in children. Cavities are holes in teeth that form when plaque — a sticky film that contains bacteria — builds up on the surface of the teeth and destroys enamel. When this happens, it can cause a lot of pain to your little one’s mouth. That’s why parents and caretakers need to put into practice a few simple habits to prevent cavities in children — and themselves! Keep reading to learn more.
Brush (at least) twice a day
Brushing your teeth twice a day is the easiest way to prevent cavities (although not the only way). Keep in mind:
- Brush inside cheeks with up-and-down movements.
- Brush for at least 2 minutes, so you have time to clean all surfaces of your mouth.
- Clean your tongue to remove bacteria from that area. The back of the tongue is also important because it tends to have more plaque than other areas of the mouth, which can lead to tooth decay.
Clean between teeth
One of the most important things you can do to reduce tooth decay in your child is to clean between their teeth daily. We recommend starting to floss early so that your child will develop good dental habits from a young age.
Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks
It’s important to limit your child’s sugar intake and promote a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and plenty of water. Water can help rinse away bacteria and food particles from the mouth, preventing acid from building up on the teeth. Remember that snacks should be eaten at regular intervals throughout the day. Also, try not to give your child too much of one type of food at a time. This is called “food overload.” It can cause indigestion and cause existing cavities to worsen — indigestion produces acids that damage your tooth enamel.
Make sure to rinse
If your child is 6 years or older, they can use a fluoride mouth rinse. We also recommend children to rinse or drink water after drinking any sports drinks or other foods/beverages with high doses of sugar. Kids over 6 years old can also use fluoride toothpaste. Make sure your child brushes up and down over all surfaces of each tooth instead of just swirling around with their brush — this will help get rid of any plaque buildup!
Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
Regular visits to the dentist are important for 2 reasons:
- They help you prevent future cavities
- They allow you to know if there’s a problem with your teeth
If you and your child visit us at Austin Dental every 6 months, our team will perform a dental cleaning and checkup, in which they will be able to spot even small cavities as soon as they start developing. Your dentist will also check for gum disease and other problems that could lead to tooth decay. They may recommend special dental floss or toothbrushes so you can keep your child’s teeth in the best shape!
Bonus tip: Add cheese and nuts to the diet
Many people don’t know this, but cheese and nuts are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and fat-soluble vitamins, which help to remineralize the teeth. A diet that does not contain enough calcium can lead to tooth decay.
We are here for you and your child
If you’re a parent or have children in your life, you certainly want them to be as healthy as possible. It’s important to know how cavities can affect kids and what you can do to prevent them. Getting children into good oral health habits at a young age is the best thing you can do! If you want to learn more about how to keep your child cavity-free, our team at Austin Dental would love to help you. Schedule your appointment today.