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You can help your child prevent cavities by teaching them proper dental hygiene and encouraging healthy behaviors.
Child’s First Appointment and Regular Checkups
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that every child see a dentist after they are six months old or by their first birthday.
Children who visit the dentist early on and regularly are more likely to have fewer dental problems. Not only do regular checkups help children feel more relaxed in the dental office, but they also help catch any dental problems early that may be developing. Children need to have their teeth professionally cleaned twice a year.
Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks
Tooth decay affects nearly one-third of children by the age of 3. Children who eat sugary snacks and drink sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks and juice are more prone to tooth decay. Once sugar is in the mouth, it changes oral bacteria. These bacteria erode the mineral in teeth, creating a cavity. Make sure to teach your child the importance of choosing nutritious foods that are low in sugar. Help set an example by limiting sugar in your diet as well
Brush and Floss Regularly
Children need to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities. They should floss at least once a day to keep gums healthy. Parents need to help younger children clean their teeth until they are able to do it independently and effectively. Although baby teeth eventually make way for permanent teeth, it’s vital to keep those teeth healthy.
Not only do they hold a space for permanent teeth, but they play an important role in speech development, chewing and biting foods. Our dental staff can show you how to teach your child how to brush and floss properly.
Importance of Fluoride
Fluoride prevents tooth decay by strengthening teeth. It’s often found in drinking water. If the water where you live is not fluoridated, ask your dentist if your child needs fluoride supplements. Filters that people use in their refrigerators, faucets and pitchers do not remove fluoride from the water. However, some water-filtration systems, such as reverse osmosis, will take out fluoride.
Fluoride supplements are easy to administer to children. Ask your dentist if you have any questions.
Thumb and Finger Sucking
Many children go through a developmental phase where they find great comfort in sucking their thumb or fingers. Typically, this habit stops by the time a child turns 4. Make sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your pediatric dentist. Sucking on a thumb or fingers can misalign teeth.
Brush and Floss Regularly
If you choose to give your baby a pacifier, only do so intermittently. Children should not be allowed to keep the pacifier in their mouth for long periods of time because it can cause harmful malocclusions and a condition called tongue thrust.
Help your child give up their pacifier by the time they’re 18 months old. At this stage of development, children usually have an easier time finding other ways to comfort themselves. A stuffed animal, encouragement and praise helps most children make the adjustment after a few days. If you need help weaning your child from their pacifier, ask our staff for more information.
Many coaches and schools recommend their athletes wear mouthguards because they protect teeth, lips and gums from sports-related injuries. According to the American Dental Association, 10 to 20 percent of all sports-related injuries are maxillofacial injuries. And athletes who don’t wear protective mouthguards are 60 times more likely to suffer damage to their teeth, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation reports.
Although simple ready-made mouthguards can be purchased at sporting goods stores, many children find them uncomfortable and difficult to wear while talking. Let us make a custom mouthguard for your child.