Why is tooth decay so prevalent, given that it’s mostly preventable? The answer lies in the modern world and how we live. Today’s youth are exposed to a lot of sugars from different types of food and drinks, an increasing amount of time spent online and on smartphones and tablets, as well as the ever-growing popularity of fast food restaurants. These factors have led many children to develop dental issues at a young age. However, you can support your child’s dental health by helping them make better choices when they’re young.
Here are a few tips for protecting your children’s teeth and helping them learn healthy habits now, and for the future.
1. Limit Sugary Foods & Drinks
The primary cause of tooth decay is the presence of sugar in your mouth. This is why it’s crucial to limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. . . like candy, cookies, pastries, ice cream, and more. Drinks like soda, fruit juices, and sweetened coffees are also high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
When these foods come into contact with your teeth, they can cause tooth decay and damage your teeth’s enamel. At its worst, this can lead to cavities, sensitivity, and even teeth loss. To prevent tooth decay, brush your teeth after consuming foods and drinks high in sugar. This will help reduce the amount of sugar that remains on your teeth which, in turn, reduces the chances of tooth decay.
2. Establish Good Oral Hygiene Early
As with any other routine in life, establishing good oral hygiene early on can go a long way in preventing tooth decay. You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear. For children under two, you can use an infant tooth-cleaning device or even a toothbrush babies can hold themselves.
It’s also best to start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have fully formed. You should brush your child’s teeth twice daily, after breakfast and bedtime. Use a soft toothbrush or toothbrush made for children, and avoid applying too much pressure when brushing their teeth.
3. Use Fluoride
Ensure that the toothpaste you use for your child’s teeth contains fluoride for added protection. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in the soil and water that can help strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste suitable for their age can ensure they get adequate protection when brushing their teeth.
However, it’s also important to realize that fluoride is actually highly toxic, especially if consumed accidentally. While fluoride does help with cleaning the teeth, there are also fluoride-free toothpastes, too, that are considered safer and more natural, especially for young mouths.
4. Set Up Regular Dental Visits
As a parent, your job is to support your child’s dental health! The only way to ensure that your child’s teeth are healthy is by visiting a dentist at least once a year. This allows your child’s dentist to examine your child’s teeth for any cavities or potential tooth decay. A dentist can also help you identify and understand potential issues with your child’s teeth and advise you on how to best address them. If your child’s dentist finds signs of tooth decay and recommends treatment, follow through with the recommended treatment and schedule another dental check-up.
When your child brushes his or her teeth twice a day and flosses once daily, they significantly reduce their chances of developing tooth decay. Protecting and supporting your child’s dental health is crucial, as tooth decay can harm their quality of life and even their self-esteem.