Clinician's Corner: Raising a cavity-free kid

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February 7th, 2022

As a parent, keeping your child’s teeth healthy is important. The good news is that childhood caries (cavities) are preventable. With the right information, parents and caregivers can start their kids off on the right track to a healthy smile!

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. The first birthday is also a good time to transition your child away from the habit of using a bottle. Helping your child drink from a cup, instead of a bottle, can avoid Early Childhood Caries (formerly called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay) and other related issues.

Illustration of carrots, and apple, floss and a toothbrush

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.

Watch a short video on this topic— click here!

Published:June 3, 2020

Revised: February 1, 2022

This information in this post is for general educational purposes only and does not warrant or represent any information as related to health as specifically appropriate for you. It is not intended to be medical advice or replace the relationship that you have with your health care providers. You should always seek medical advice on any diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. The information is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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