As a parent, it can be difficult to help your kids take care of their teeth. The good news is that childhood caries (cavities) are preventable. With the right information, parents and caregivers can be informed and know how to keep the smiles of their kids healthy!
Strong foundations are essential for a lifetime of good oral health. This means that parents should begin brushing their child’s teeth, using a smear of fluoridated toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice), as soon as the first tooth erupts. They should also establish a dental home for their child by setting up a dental appointment by their first birthday. It’s also beneficial to transition your child away from the habit of using a bottle by 12-15 months to avoid Early Childhood Caries (formerly called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay) and other related issues.
To reinforce positive oral health habits, parents should also prioritize healthy diet and behavior habits. Foods and drinks low in sugar help prevent childhood cavities. Encourage your child to drink fluoridated tap water rather than soda, juice or other sugary drinks.
Creating good oral health habits for your child can begin even before they are born. Pregnant mothers should care for their own oral health in order to prevent cavity causing germs from spreading to their children. As a parent, set a positive example of healthy habits for your children to follow such as brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing once per day and seeing your dentist regularly for routine cleanings.
Establishing a strong oral health routine and preventing cavities during childhood will set the stage for a lifetime of good oral health and overall health. If you have questions or concerns for your child’s oral health, be sure to speak to your dentist.