Cavities are so common that on average around 1 in 5 children under the age of five have one, and it’s likely untreated. They sneak up on parents with little warning and can wreak a lot of havoc in a small mouth.
Luckily, there are a lot of things parents can do to prevent cavities in children. A little work and diligence upfront will save you the worry, time, effort, and money it takes to get them fixed. Working on these helpful practices when your child is young also sets them up for a lifetime of good oral hygiene and health.
Read on for a full guide on how to prevent cavities to help you get started!
Start Brushing Habits Early
Oral hygiene is a huge indicator of overall health for every person. A mouth with problems can have a ripple effect on the rest of the body, especially when things go untreated.
When you set your child up with proper brushing habits early, you’re setting them up for the best chance of good oral health throughout their life. It becomes less of a fight to get the tasks done every day and just a regular part of the day that’s never skipped. The work you put in early will benefit you and them for years to come.
Teaching proper techniques can help guarantee they have a clean mouth and allow them to have the best chance at avoiding cavities.
Don’t Forget the Floss
Cavity prevention is never complete until the teeth have been flossed. Not very many people would add flossing to their list of enjoyable activities, but it’s absolutely crucial to a clean mouth and fewer cavities.
After a child eats, there will be food particles lodged between their teeth from chewing. This is normal and natural and can’t be avoided. Using floss can help you to dislodge any of that excess debris, which will lead to tooth decay if left alone for a longer period of time on the teeth.
This is a step in the oral hygiene routine that should always be conducted or supervised by the parent. It’s difficult for a child to get in between the teeth and to make sure they got every single one as well.
Choose Smart Food
Probably the best way to prevent cavities would be to take away any and all foods that could trigger one. But, in reality, that’s just not really plausible or realistic. Especially when young children are involved.
Plus, there’s no diet that has been proven to eliminate all potential for cavities.
Instead, parents can do their best to choose foods that will promote good oral health and make it easier to get a full clean after brushing. That might mean reducing the amount of crackers or sticky foods that tend to stick around on the teeth for extended periods of time. Or maybe it means limiting sugar intake to very minimal.
Setting up boundaries and regulating what types of food can help make the cleaning process much easier and more effective.
Get to Know the Dentist
No good oral hygiene routine is complete without at least visits to the dentist for deep cleaning, x-rays, and overall checkups. The earlier you start this habit for your children, the better prepared they’ll be to avoid cavities.
Even the best brushing and flossing can’t compare to the clean you can get from a dental hygienist. They just have better tools and can see more clearly what’s going on in the mouth. This cleaning goes a long way to clear out anything that could cause a cavity, or catch the signs early enough to reverse it.
Developing a relationship with the dentist and forging trust in what they say can also help you get your child to have good oral hygiene throughout their whole life. They won’t want to disappoint their friend by not brushing their teeth!
Add Fluoride if Necessary
Tooth decay in children is so common because it’s so difficult to eliminate all cavity triggers. There are just so many of them and they really are a part of regular, everyday life for kids.
But adding in a regular fluoride treatment can help to protect against those triggers and strengthen the teeth altogether.
Some towns add fluoride to their local water supply so kids will have regular exposure and see the benefits naturally. For those that live in an area that doesn’t have this option, a dentist can regularly apply fluoride directly to the teeth following a deep cleaning. This will help prevent the start of a cavity from the beginning.
Look Into Orthodontics
As your child begins to get their permanent teeth, it may become obvious that they’re more prone to cavities because of the alignment of their teeth.
Crowded, overlapping teeth make it difficult to get a real, thorough deep clean every day using ordinary tools. When this happens, there’s more chance for debris and bacteria to create a cavity. This is so frustrating for both the parent and the child who is doing all they can but still having issues.
This is when early orthodontics can come into play. Getting the child’s teeth straightened and aligned can make proper teeth brushing and flossing much easier to do.
Instead of only getting an all-around clean at the dentist twice a year, they’ll be able to reach all of the nooks and crannies of the mouth on their own every day (twice a day!).
Best Practices to Prevent Cavities in Children
There are so many things to think about as a parent, it’s overwhelming to even think about. But when you set your family up with good practices for oral hygiene, cavities in children aren’t going to be something you have to worry about.
The simple act of checking in and taking care of your child’s teeth each day can save you so much in the long run.
If you’re ready to get your child into the dentist or have any questions or concerns about their teeth, contact us today to schedule a consultation!