A child’s oral health must be protected from birth through adolescence and into adulthood. Unfortunately, many children develop tooth decay early in life – a condition that can progress into serious oral health problems. Tooth decay occurs when when bacteria in the mouth begins to eat away at teeth. In order to avoid tooth decay in children, there are several steps that parents can take.
Keeping a child’s teeth strong and healthy requires preventative measures. At Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental, teaching how to prevent tooth decay is the foundation of all we do. After all, it is far easier and more affordable to avoid oral disease than it is to treat it.
Tooth Decay Prevention Starts Early
Learning how to prevent tooth decay in your child starts early. A mother’s diet while pregnant will contribute to a child’s developing primary teeth in the womb. After birth, parents should cleanse a baby’s gums and begin brushing the teeth gently as they emerge. Infants should visit a pediatric dentist for a preventive care exam no later than age one.
Practice Proper Brushing
One of the simplest and most important ways of how to prevent tooth decay is encouraging good tooth brushing habits. Your child should brush their teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush that won’t irritate their sensitive gums. If your child is older than age two, they can use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. Each tooth brushing session should last for at least two minutes. Children younger than age 6 will need their parents’ help to make sure that they’re brushing thoroughly.
What Else Can Prevent Tooth Decay?
Diet plays an important role in a child’s dental health. Sugar feeds the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. Limiting foods and beverages containing sugar deters cavities and helps protect the enamel. To prevent tooth decay in children, avoid giving your child sugary juices, candies and sodas, and never let your child go to bed with a bottle. Try substituting sugary drinks with milk or water to help reduce your child’s risk for tooth decay.
The Pediatric Dentist’s Role in Preventing Tooth Decay
Depending on your child’s age, oral health and risk factors, a pediatric dentist may recommend in-office preventive treatments as methods of how to prevent tooth decay. For example, fluoride treatments may help strengthen the teeth – especially in children with low exposure to fluoride in local water sources.
Another option is dental sealants, which are placed on newly erupted permanent molars to fill in pits and crevices that are susceptible to decay. As your child grows and becomes more active, their dentist may recommend the use of a sports mouth guard when participating in contact sports like soccer or gymnastics. Talk to your child’s dentist to see what preventative options are best for them.
At Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental, our team will do everything we can to prevent tooth decay in children. To learn more about decay prevention or to make your child’s next dental appointment, contact us today.