Parents are protective of all parts of their children, teeth included. Some may cringe at the thought of their perfect little bundle being tainted by tooth decay. This can break a parent’s heart and make them feel as if they’ve failed their child. At the same time, these protectors are also likely to allow sugary indulgences. It is no fun to deprive kids of such pleasures all of the time, so take steps to help your child stay cavity-free.
Primary Teeth Matter
Don’t assume that just because your child’s first teeth are going to fall out that they don’t need the same attention as primary teeth. The cleaning and care of this first set will affect the health of the underlying adult teeth. It is recommended that your child be examined by a dentist either after the first tooth erupts or by age one.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene Early
Everyone over the age of three should brush their teeth for a full two minutes, two times a day with fluoridated toothpaste. It is also very important to floss at least once per day when the child’s teeth are filled in and touching. Until the child is about eight years old, an adult should assist in the process.
Get Regular Dental Checkups and Cleanings
Twice yearly trips for dental checkups will help prevent cavities. It is common for children to receive routine cleanings, fluoride treatments, x-rays and exams. Don’t wait until a problem has already begun to arise. Instead, your child’s first visit should take place by his or her first birthday. This practice will allow your child to become accustomed to regular dentist visits and make it possible for the dentist to monitor any potential issues. The whole family should set an example by practicing good oral care, which includes regular dental visits.
Avoid Sticky Foods
Clean your child’s teeth thoroughly after eating any food that sticks in their teeth. Sugary candy adheres to teeth, breaking down enamel and attracting bacteria. Either limit or avoid these foods altogether. Starchy foods get stuck inside the grooves of teeth that can be hard to clean.
For this reason, these foods should be limited to only occasionally. Brushing and flossing immediately after consuming these foods will significantly reduce the risk of developing cavities. If brushing isn’t possible, have the child swish with water and swallow.
Offer Tooth-Friendly Foods
Make foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber staples in your child’s diet. Make nutrition a top priority and plan scheduled meals consisting of fruits, vegetables, meat, beans, and whole grain breads. Instead of giving children juice and soda on a regular basis, make water the primary drink. Save the sweets for special occasions.
These steps will help teach your child how to care for his or her teeth for life. However, the best way to keep your child cavity free is to be a good role model. Show them by example how easy it is to put good dental habits into practice by taking care of your own teeth.