24 April 2018

How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Your Children

Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease. When the average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons of sugar every day, that should come as no surprise.

Tooth decay is an epidemic among children, and preventing this epidemic from affecting your children all starts in the home. Implementing healthy habits and starting dentist visits early are among the important tasks that will limit and even prevent tooth decay for your children.

Start Dentist Visits Early--

Regular dental checkups are fairly important, not only for adults but for young children as their teeth and mouth are developing. According to Alligator Pediatric Dentistry, a child should have their first dental visit by their first birthday or when their teeth begin to grow.

During this first visit, your pediatric dentist should cover the following:
  • Best home care to prevent tooth decay
  • How to prevent tooth and mouth injuries
  • Habits in regards to pacifiers and sucking fingers
  • Information about cavities in children
  • Your child’s growth and development
  • If your child’s dentist doesn’t cover all of these points, ask them about it. 
After this first dental appointment, your child should see the dentist every 6 months for checkups and preventative care.

If you can’t afford regular checkups, organizations like Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children have awarded grants to organizations across the country to help families in financial need to get dental care for their children. So you don’t have to let finances keep your child from getting the care they need.

Implementing Healthy Home Habits--

It’s important to begin healthy habits while your child is young. Children who have developed healthy habits by the age of 9 are much more likely to keep these habits throughout their lives than children who do not. So, start implementing healthy dental habits in your child to help prevent tooth decay.

Here are some of the most crucial habits that you can help your child develop at home:
  • Brushing. Pick up a soft-bristled toothbrush for your young child to start developing this habit. Help them brush each tooth from the tips to where they connect with the gums. To help them develop this habit, make it a routine each morning and night. Brush your teeth with them as they learn to brush their teeth. 
  • Flossing. Until your child has developed good motor skills, you will likely need to floss their teeth for them. Get plastic flossers as they get older - these will be easier to use, and you can even get the dinosaur flossers to make it more fun. 
  • Healthy eating. Rather than enforcing a no sugar diet, implement a diet and desire for healthy snack options like fruits, cheese, and veggies. A little sweet treat now and then won’t hurt - just help your child know to brush their teeth after indulging in sugary sweets. 
  • Drink lots of water. Try to avoid juices and soda as a go-to hydrater. When your child wants something to drink, give them water. This will help them develop a desire for water, and water is so important to their overall health. Drinking water with or shortly after a meal can also help to wash food down so it doesn’t get stuck in the teeth and feed plaque-producing bacteria. 

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