Did you know that dental decay for the most part is a preventable disease? At Pediatric Dental Care, our pediatric dentists know what behaviors are most likely to put kids at risk for developing dental disease. We want your child to be part of the cavity-free generation! That’s why we’ve put together these tips for helping your child enjoy good dental health.
The following habits should begin while your child is still young, before cavities have had a chance to develop.
Cavities occur when plaque on the teeth interact with fermentable carbohydrates and create acid. This happens for twenty minutes after a person eats, so when your child grazes throughout the day, he or she is more likely to develop cavities because his/her mouth is constantly creating acid and doesn’t get a chance to clear out before the next acid exposure.
Limiting how often they are snacking and what it is they are snacking on will help your children fend off potential cavities. Additionally, drinking plenty of water throughout the day will keep them hydrated, which may also help reduce the need for constant snacking.
As a parent, you can probably count on more than one hand how many times you’ve had to say “No more candy!” to your kids. But did you know that fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups, and even raisins put your children at risk for decay just as much as milk duds do? These snacks have the type of consistency that gets stuck in between the teeth, and they can be difficult to clear out. Even if your children brush twice a day, they are still at risk of cavities because sticky snacks at lunchtime won’t be brushed off the teeth until several hours later.
It’s a good idea to check out the ingredients on the packages of snacks you are buying. The snacks we mentioned all have two things in common: sugar and high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients are often at the top of the list on those packages. So what types of snacks should you be buying instead? Snacks like Jell-O, pudding, and yogurt may have as much sugar as fruit snacks, but they won’t stay stuck on the teeth for long.
Likewise, if you give your child a gummy vitamin on the way to school, it will be stuck on the teeth all morning. This is because gummy vitamins tend to have sugar and high fructose corn syrup added to them. A healthier alternative will be to give the vitamin with dinner, and then have your child brush his/her teeth afterwards.
Frequent, effective oral home care is critically important for protecting your child’s general health. While periodontal diseases have an effect on the oral cavity, they can also affect the rest of the body too. Brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste repeatedly every day reduces the bacterial load in the mouth, prevents disease development, avoids halitosis, removes stains, and removes food particles. By helping your child get into the habit of brushing twice a day, you are increasing the chance that dental decay does not develop.
Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it can be difficult to clean the tiny grooves and pits on certain teeth. In order to reduce the risk of decay, sealants may be necessary to seal out food and plaque. The application of a sealant is quick, comfortable. It can be done in only one visit at Pediatric Dental Care!
If your child does have sealants, brushing and flossing are still very important aspects of maintaining a healthy smile. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once a day to help remove plaque from the areas between your child’s teeth where his or her toothbrush can’t reach.
Plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar, so the best chance your child has of avoiding cavities in the future is to not develop them as an infant and toddler. Flossing should begin once your child’s teeth are touching each other. For a toddler, this is usually only the primary molars. The molars are difficult areas to reach, and your child won’t be able to floss his or her own teeth until they have the dexterity to tie their own shoes. Until then, you will need to help.
Pediatric Dental Care offers many early orthodontic treatments for our younger patients.
Regular dental visits are a vital part of helping your child stay cavity-free. At Pediatric Dental Care, these check-ups involve teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments, and an assessment of your child’s oral health. Our specially trained pediatric dentists will talk with you and your child about how to maintain good dental health. Our goal is to motivate your child to take responsibility for having a healthy smile!
While many children grow up cavity-free, it is not due to luck. Parents who take steps to implement the above behaviors in their children have the best chance of helping their child enjoy good dental health. Brushing, flossing, balanced nutrition, limited snacking, and regular dental visits are essential to a bright, healthy smile!