Oral health is an accurate predictor of overall wellness, which means it’s essential to adopt good habits from an early age. If parents are able to lay the foundation for proper dental care from the beginning, your child’s teeth will be a lot less prone to problems later on. Unfortunately, 42% of children ages two to 11 have dental caries in their primary teeth, meaning that it’s probably more common than you think to develop cavities when you’re young.
What’s more, the following habits will leave your child’s teeth more vulnerable to cavity development. Whether you’re preparing for your son or daughter’s first visit to the kids dentist or you want to promote superior children’s dental care throughout their lives, you’ll want to watch out for these common causes of cavities in kids.
- Sugary or Sticky Snacks: Sugar is often blamed for ruining both appetites and tooth care. This isn’t to say that your child should never have sugar, however; in many cases, being more careful about how it’s consumed can make a world of difference. Gooey candies like gummies and caramels tend to remain caught in the teeth for prolonged periods. If you do allow your child to enjoy these, make sure to supervise their brushing and flossing routine immediately afterwards. Keep in mind that frequent snacking can keep the saliva from neutralizing acid in the mouth, which can lead to enamel damage. After your child enjoys a sweet treat, make sure to limit their consumption to a specific period of the day and have them complete their oral care routine right after to protect their teeth from cavities.
- Juices and Sodas: Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to limit sugary beverage consumption for all kids, as this can promote a healthy weight and keep your child’s teeth in check. What you might not realize is that even 100% fruit juice is loaded with sugar. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave apple or orange juice off the shopping list, but it does mean you should limit your child’s consumption and refrain from giving them juice in a bottle or sippy cup in bed. If you do allow your child to drink juice, it should be consumed in one short period and their teeth should be properly cleaned afterward. That way, their teeth won’t be exposed to those acids over several hours.
- Improper Oral Care Habits: Diet can certainly play a role in the health of your child’s teeth, but their dental care routine will likely matter even more. You should set your child up for success before their first teeth even appear by wiping their gums and mouths with a damp, clean cloth after feeding to eliminate harmful bacteria. You can then use a baby toothbrush once their teeth start to appear. It’s important to keep an eye on your children as they gain independence to ensure they are brushing and flossing thoroughly and that they don’t swallow their toothpaste. Make sure they brush their tongues and spend at least two minutes brushing each time. The spots closest to the gum line and in between the teeth are most likely to be missed, so pay attention to these areas. Your dentist can also help both you and your child learn proper brushing and flossing habits.
To keep cavities at bay, it’s essential to make an appointment with your child’s dentist every six months or as recommended by dentistry for kids experts. To learn more about our services and how we can help your child lead a healthier life, please contact us today.