As part of ensuring the continued health of their kids, parents (like you) are responsible for teaching children about proper dental care habits that should be observed. Your kids will be going through different stages in their teeth’s development, and all the while, it’s important for them to understand that a lot of factors can cause cavities — but there are also a lot of ways that they can be prevented. And we have five simple tips to help you guide them every step of the way.
Here are the top five tips on cavity prevention for kids that can help your little ones maintain healthy teeth and gums:
Make brushing and flossing a habit
If you have an infant, you should get them in the habit by wiping plaque from their teeth and gums using a clean washcloth or wet gauze after every bottle. Many of the parents we talk to had no idea that their kids could even get plaque on their gums that young. Yes, it’s true which is why it is a best practice to not only get them used to the feeling of cleaning their teeth/gums but to make a habit out of it for yourself.
Going through these oral hygiene activities may not be as fun for younger kids as play time or snack time, but you can always introduce fun to make them more appealing. Let them choose dentist-approved toothbrushes in fun shapes and colors, and make a game out of brushing and flossing after every meal.
Older kids, on the other hand, can be taught to monitor their own brushing and flossing habits.
It’s best to train your kids to brush and floss at least twice a day (after every meal is better), and to do these more thoroughly before bedtime. Be sure to check in with your kids from time to time to see how well they are brsuing. Even children of dentists can get cavities if they are not being monitored here and there. Kids tend to want to get through their bedtime routine quickly and sometimes skip the actual tequnique it takes to clean their teeth.
Steer clear of cavity-causing activities
These should be on your list of don’ts:
- Going to bed with a bottle
- Eating candy every day, especially multiple times per day
- Frequent or constant “grazing” (sipping milk and juice and snacking throughout the day)
- Eating or drinking before bedtime
- Skipping brushing and flossing before bedtime
Also, there are foods that can cause cavities more than others, like:
- Sticky foods such as raisins, dried fruit, fruit leather, and other fruit snacks (they stay on teeth long after you finish chewing them, and they can cause cavities even if you regularly brush and floss).
- Gummy bear vitamins. These may make it easier for kids to get the vitamins they need, but the sugars they contain can quickly cause cavities. As much as possible, choose options that are sugar-free or are made with Xylitol instead of regular sugar.
Pay regular visits to your dentist
You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you were not already aware of this one but we can’t talk about cavity prevention without mentioning a trip to your local pediatric dentist. Take your kids to see the dentist every six months for a regular checkup and cleaning. This will help make dental visits a habit that they will observe into adulthood. Your dental insurace will likey
Ask your dentist about fluoride treatments
Your children can be assessed in terms of their risk of developing cavities, and can be prescribed to receive prescription strength fluoride every three to six months. This is a great professional cavity prevention method.
Consider the use of tooth sealants
Your dentist can apply tooth sealants — clear or shaded resin — to your kids’ back teeth to prevent cavities. These particular teeth have depressions and grooves that are hard to reach when brushing flossing, and can thus be a breeding ground for bacteria. Sealants prevent food particles and bacteria from lodging into these spaces, forming acid, and breaking down the enamel. Should you choose to use sealants for your kids’ teeth, keep in mind that these should be regularly checked during routine dental visits. Properly cared for, the sealants can last for years.
Feel free to contact us if you think your child might be at risk for cavities, we are happy to help!