How To Protect Your Child From Cavities

Sugary foods are guilty pleasures that you might treat yourself to from time to time. Your child might also love the delicious goodies too! However, it is important that after your child eats their sugary treats, they practice proper oral hygiene to avoid cavities. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the three most important ways to keep your child’s teeth cavity-free is by:

  1. A healthy diet and good oral hygiene.
  2. Enhancing the resistance of the tooth enamel.
  3. A good balance of healthy oral bacteria.

Tooth decay is five times more common than asthma but the good news is that it can be prevented. At Advanced Children’s Dentistry, we want to make sure your child’s teeth are being protected correctly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42% of children develop cavities in their baby teeth, and 21% of children under the age of 11 get cavities in their permanent teeth.

What Causes Cavities

Cavities are caused by bacteria and is the most common long-term childhood disease. When your child eats sugary foods, bacteria feeds on the sugar and produces an acid that eats away at the enamel of the teeth by depleting the calcium. The bacteria can create plaque, a yellow colored film that builds up on teeth and contains more enamel-eroding acid. When a part of the tooth loses too much calcium, it collapses and forms a cavity.

Initially, babies are born without harmful bacteria in their saliva but they can be infected by the transfer of saliva. The bacteria can be transferred between you and your child whether by sharing the same spoon or letting your child use your toothbrush. The high levels of decay-causing bacteria can also be genetics, passed down by family. Oral hygiene is very important because using the proper techniques to clean your child’s teeth is crucial to the removal of the harmful bacteria.

One of the most common ways for an infant or toddler to develop cavities is from nursing, bottles, and sippy cups. If you keep a bottle of milk, formula, or any liquids that contain sugar, in your child’s mouth while they are asleep, they are at a higher risk of tooth decay because of the long contact between sugar and teeth. You should make sure your child is finished with their bottles before bedtime. Sometimes giving your child a pacifier to help them fall asleep is a must but make sure you do not dip it in sugar or honey.

Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Clean

The ADA recommends that you continue to brush your child’s teeth until they are at least the age of 6. As soon as your child develops two teeth that touch, you want to start helping them floss. Your pediatric dentist will show you how to floss your child’s teeth correctly. Your child should brush their teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. You want to use a fluoride toothpaste and child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush that fits your child’s mouth. For children under the age of 3, use no more than a grain-of-rice-sized amount of toothpaste and for 3 to 6 year olds, a pea-sized amount is suggested. Fluoride helps make their teeth stronger and protects them from tooth decay. Make sure your child spits the toothpaste out rather than swallowing it.

When it’s time to let your child brush their teeth by themselves, you could teach them by holding the handle of the toothbrush and do the brushing motions together. You can brush your teeth next to them so they can mimic what you do and give them lots of positive feedback. Making up games is also a fun way to encourage your child to brush their teeth. Make sure they brush for at least two minutes.

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The Influence of Your Child’s Diet

Feeding your child healthy food helps improve your child’s oral health, while preventing any formation of plaque or infections. Plaque can build up if it is not removed because sugary food sticks to the teeth. You want to avoid drinks like juices, soda, sports and energy drinks that are high in sugar, which are bad for the teeth. Focus on whole fruits (fresh, frozen, dried and canned options) rather than ones that claim they are 100% fruit juice. For dairy, you want to prefer low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt.

Try to avoid frequent snacks and sips of sugary drinks that are consumed between meals because this exposes their teeth to repeated acid attacks. Limiting between-meal snacking is ideal, and try to save sweets for meal-time to prevent tooth decay.

Take Your Child In For Regular Check-Ups

It is highly recommended that you take your child in after the first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday. The dentist and their team will check for possible tooth decay, oral hygiene, injuries, or other dental problems. They will also update you on how your child’s teeth are forming, how to take care of those teeth, and what foods are recommended for their development. You will be given helpful advice on how to take care of your child’s oral health. Bringing your child in for regular check-ups can keep your child cavity-free.

At Advanced Children’s Dentistry, your Garden City Pediatric Dentist, we want you to be knowledgeable of anything you can do to help your child’s oral hygiene. We also want to make sure your children are given the opportunity to receive the best oral health care options available.

Call today 516-758-KIDS (5437) and reserve your child’s dental care appointment. Advanced Children’s Dentistry is proud to serve the surrounding areas: Mineola, Hempstead, West Hempstead, Franklin Square, Uniondale, New Hyde Park, Westbury, North New Hyde Park, Roosevelt, North Merrick, Roslyn, Carl Place, Willison Park, Old Westbury, Albertson, East Meadow, Garden City Park, Floral Park, East Garden City and more.

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