If you’re a new parent, tooth decay is a real concern. Cavities are the #1 most common preventable childhood disease, and kids of any age can develop them. So as soon as your child’s first teeth come out, you need to take steps to protect their teeth. Here are a few simple tips from We Care Dental Care that can help prevent tooth decay in young kids.
Practice good feeding habits. When your child is done feeding, remove their bottle or remove them from the breast. Wipe down their gums with a clean cloth to remove any remaining milk or formula.
And you absolutely should never put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk or formula. The sugar in the milk will sit on their teeth and could contribute to serious decay, also known as “bottle mouth” syndrome.
If your child needs a bottle to sleep, fill it only with water, and work on ways to wean them off of it and break the habit so they can fall asleep without a bottle.
Your kids should drink water and milk. That’s about it. Fruit juices are actually very bad for their teeth, as they have lots of acid and sugar. Consider feeding your child whole fruit instead. This is a much more nutritious choice.
And, for obvious reasons, other sugary drinks like sports drinks, soda, and sweetened tea and/or coffee should be avoided, too. They’re okay for special occasions, but keep them out of your child’s normal routine.
While sugary drinks are a huge cause of cavities, sugary and starchy foods are, too. You should minimize the amount of processed foods and snacks your child eats, particularly things like candy, cookies, and chips.
Feed them a nutritious and balanced diet with plenty of healthy dairy, fresh veggies and fruit, complex carbohydrates like multi-grain bread and crackers, and lean meats. This will help their mouths and bodies stay strong and healthy.
Fluoride is safe for kids of all ages, even infants. In infants and very young kids (1-3), you should use a smear of toothpaste that’s about the size of a grain of rice to brush any of their erupted teeth.
Kids over the age of 3 or who can spit on command can use a blob of toothpaste that’s about the size of a pea, instead. Make sure you brush your child’s teeth twice daily, once in the morning and once at night.
And when your children start brushing on their own, usually between 5-6 years of age, make sure you supervise them to ensure they’re brushing properly and for a long enough period of time.
Regular dental exams from Dr. Benjamin Burkitt help you keep an eye on your child’s oral health. If he thinks they are prone to developing cavities, he may also recommend fluoride treatments and/or dental sealants, which can help prevent the formation of cavities. Make sure to bring your child to the dentist every six months once they turn one year old or their first tooth comes out!
Dr. Benjamin Burkitt provides expert care for kids of all ages in Roanoke at We Care Dental Care. If you’re worried your little one may be developing cavities, Dr. Burkitt can examine their mouth, provide at-home oral care advice, and use the latest dental treatments to prevent and halt the formation of cavities. Contact us online or give us a call at (540) 724-6335 to schedule an appointment now.