There’s arguably nothing cuter than a kid’s toothy smile. But that precious smile can easily be turned upside down by cavities. So how can parents prevent tooth decay in kids? Here’s some advice on how to prevent cavities before they take over your kid’s beautiful smile.
What causes tooth decay in kids?
Although proper brushing and flossing will help prevent cavities, decay can be caused by a variety of factors. These include:
Lollipops and toffees aren’t the only tooth decay culprits. Anything your kid eats can basically lead to tooth decay. Kids that graze more frequently are also obviously more prone to developing cavities than kids who don’t.
Soft drinks, juices, sports drinks and even milk can all cause cavities. When kids frequently contain drinks (other than water), they teeth become coated in those drinks. This results in acid-producing bacteria settling in the grooves and pits of your kiddo’s teeth. Eventually, it will lead to cavities.
Some illnesses put kids at risk of developing cavities. If your kid suffers from chronic allergies, he’ll be more likely to breathe through his nose. This leads to a reduction of saliva flow and increases cavities.
How to prevent tooth decay in kids
Prevention starts in the infancy years. Here’s how to keep your kid’s mouth cavity-free:
- Wipe your baby’s gums with wet gauze after each feeding
- Take your kid for his or her first dental checkup before (but no later than) their first birthday
- Use un-fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to take care of the first teeth your baby produces
- Never give your kid a bottle filled with anything other than water at night
- Don’t give your toddler a sippy cup or bottle with anything other than water at bedtime
- Encourage your kid to use a cup instead of a sippy cup. Slowly sipping beverages exposes their teeth to decay-causing sugars
- Brush your kid’s teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste twice a day
- Start teaching your kid about the importance of flossing
- Avoid giving your kid sugary foods and fruits that have high acid contents
- Don’t use fluoridated toothpaste for kids younger than two years old. Teach them to properly rinse after brushing instead of swallowing the toothpaste