3 Important Things To Know About Preventing Cavities In Children

Did you recently welcome a new baby to your family? If so, you are likely overjoyed and want to ensure that they are healthy. There will be many medical appointments your child will need throughout their life. Sometimes parents get overwhelmed or busy with other appointments and may not realize that dental appointments are relevant while their children are young. You might be surprised to learn that your child can and may need to have an oral exam performed by a dentist while still in the "baby stage." The following points will help you identify things that you can do as your child grows older to reduce the chances of dental cavities. 

Diet and Habits

Many Americans have lifestyle habits that include foods that have high starch and sugar content. Even if you don't consider yourself as a person who ingests too much sugar, it is wise to note that sugar may be in some of the high-processed foods that your family consumes. These hidden sugars can promote tooth decay because bacteria can feed off of the remnants, which is why proper tooth brushing is a necessity.

Many babies and young children drink juices. Ensure that your baby does not consume artificial juices but rather a fruit juice. Keep in mind that fruit juice has natural sugar and is acidic. This could also cause tooth decay. If your child with teeth becomes attached to having a bottle or "sippy cup" at bedtime, consider giving them water instead of juice or milk to reduce the chances of cavities forming. 

Guided Oral Care

Proper oral care can begin before your child has teeth. You can cleanse their gums with a clean, soft cloth or gauze. When they get their first tooth/teeth, you can begin cleansing them. You may choose to use a very minute amount of toothpaste because your child will not be able to spit it all of it out. Non-fluoride toothpaste designed for babies may be best. As your child ages, you can help them to brush their teeth to ensure that they brush and rinse correctly. Fluoride-containing toothpaste can help combat cavities, but if swallowed regularly can cause white spots on developing teeth that have not erupted. 

Professional Dental Care

Preventing tooth decay goes beyond regular tooth brushing and flossing. A family dentist is a good resource to use to understand oral health milestones you can expect your child to experience such as first tooth eruption or natural tooth loss. They can also help you manage situations such as thumbsucking or tongue thrusting. Family dentists will also play an important role in identifying and possibly treating issues related to jaw bone growth or early signs that future orthodontics may be needed. If your child develops a cavity, dentists can implement a dental filling or dental crown solution to avoid extractions. They can also offer preventative solutions such as dental sealants to protect against tooth decay. 

If you feel you need more education about caring for your children's teeth, talk to a family dentist today. They'll be able to get you all the skills you need to help prevent cavities in your children.