Improving your kids dental health with good oral hygiene, fewer snacks between meals, proper nutrition, the use of oral or topical fluorides, and topical sealants can all help to reduce the number of cavities in your child’s teeth.
Nutritional counseling – consuming less simple sugar will lessen the amount of acid-producing bacteria in the mouth. Poor nutrition can have negative effects on oral health, including premature tooth loss and bad breath.
Home oral hygiene – frequent flossing gets rid of acid plaque from the smooth surfaces between teeth, and brushing helps decrease acid plaque damage to enamel.
Make sure your children brush their teeth at least twice a day – after breakfast and before bedtime. They should brush all of their teeth, not just the front ones.
Get them in the habit of spending at least three minutes each time they brush. Be sure their toothbrushes have soft bristles. It’s also important that your children visit the dentist at least three times a year.
Eating fewer snacks between meals – every snack is followed by an “acid attack” on the teeth. In addition, eating certain types of sugary and starchy foods, especially as snacks, contributes to the buildup of dental plaque.
Fluorides – oral fluorides strengthen the developing enamel and dentin layers of children’s teeth before they erupt. There’s fluoride in toothpaste and even in your water.
Fluoride is a natural element found in the earth’s crust as well as in air and water. It’s also considered a nutrient because the body needs fluoride to grow and develop properly.
When teeth are growing, fluoride mixes with tooth enamel, preventing tooth decay. It also works with saliva to protect tooth enamel from plaque and sugars.
Sealants – these are plastic coatings painted on the pits and fissures of chewing surfaces of back teeth, and are vastly effective in preventing cavities.
Some of the problems that show up in kids dental health have their roots in the toddler years. Parents give their children juice in sippy cups and let them carry around the sugary drink all day, or they put them to bed with milk in their bottles.
Bacteria take hold as sugars in the fluids coat the teeth. Instead, dentists recommend giving children water in their sippy cups and bottles instead of drinks that are high in sugar. Milk and juice should be confined to mealtimes.
A final aspect to good kids dental health is the dentist. Your child’s first visit to the dentist should occur around age 1, or when he or she has a few teeth. The child may not be happy at the visit, but it gives the dentist the chance to look for problem areas you may not be able to see at home.