Preventing cavities in children can set them up for a lifetime of healthy habits and good oral health. As we all know, life gets busy. Routine brushing and flossing can sometimes be pushed down on the to-do list. But did you know that tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- Among children ages 5 to 11 years old, about 1 of 5 (20%) have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
- Among children ages 12 to 19 years-old, 1 of 7 (13%) have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
- Children ages 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely (25%) to have cavities, compared to children from higher-income households (11%).
- Children who have poor oral health miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.
How to Prevent Cavities In Children
There is good news! Before tooth decay happens, cavities can be prevented for babies and children by using the following methods:
- Be sure to wipe your baby’s gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and before bed to eliminate bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities.
- When baby teeth come in, start to brush them twice a day with a soft, small‑bristled toothbrush and a rice-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride.
- Visit the dentist when your baby turns 1 year old to detect problems early.
- Discuss with your dentist the option of applying fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. Fluoride varnish can prevent about one-third (33%) of cavities in baby teeth.
- Have children drink fluoridated water. Children living in cities with fluoridated tap water have fewer cavities than children whose water is not fluoridated.
- Watch your children brush if they are younger than 9. Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow. Help your child brush until they have good brushing skills.
- Brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss every night. Children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss will have fewer cavities.
- Dental sealants can prevent cavities for many years. Applying dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth prevent 80% of cavities.
Following these dental care tips on a routine basis can keep your child healthy and happy for years to come! Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you might have. We would love to answer them for you!