The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 52% of children between six and eight years of age have at least one cavity in their baby teeth. Children are more at risk of developing cavities because they’ve not yet developed healthy oral hygiene habits. That’s where parents come in.

Parents can offer the guidance a child needs to understand how to brush and floss, as well as how to eat correctly and make other informed decisions about their oral health. Learn more about how you can help prevent the development of cavities.

Understanding Cavities in Children

What does a cavity look like? Cavities are holes that appear in teeth, which leads to tooth decay issues. Tooth decay that continues to get worse will result in a cavity.

Although cavities can occur in people of all ages, children are particularly susceptible to their development. This mainly comes down to poor oral hygiene. Children don’t know how to brush or floss correctly, and they may not have the right level of fluoride exposure.

Children who continue to drink milk before bed also have a higher chance of developing cavities. Milk contains sugars that feed the bacteria in the mouth, leading to the acids that wear down enamel. Children are likely to eat sugary foods more often than adults as well.

Even if they stick to a rigorous brushing and flossing schedule, children are developmentally less likely to be able to correctly brush and floss. They may not be coordinated enough to reach all the spots they need to clean.

Practical Tips for Preventing Cavities in Kids

If you’re worried about your child developing cavities, there are some great strategies you can turn to.

Establishing Healthy Habits

As soon as possible, get your child used to the routine of brushing their teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. You can take the time to brush your own teeth alongside your child to show them the right way of doing so.

Nutritional Choices for Strong Teeth

Nutrition is crucial for strong teeth, and that means avoiding sugary foods and sticking to fruits and vegetables. You can explain to your child that eating sugar feeds the bacteria in their mouth that causes the cavities.

Eating crunchy and healthy foods, like apples, carrots, and cucumbers, is a better choice than sugary cereals or cookies. You can tell your child how these vegetables’ high water content and crunchy texture increase saliva and help clean plaque from their teeth.

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

Taking your child to dental appointments regularly is important to prevent problems with teeth. A dentist will be able to notice any signs of plaque and other issues, allowing them to offer solutions.

Ensuring that a child feels comfortable and has a positive experience at the dentist can come down to your attitude to the process too. If they see their parents nervous, they will emulate that. Try to make the appointment a fun one, and encourage your child to speak with the staff and ask the dentist questions.

Pediatric dentists know how to make children feel at ease during appointments, and many times, they recommend a prior visit to the location so that children know what to expect.

Recognizing Early Signs of Cavities

It can be tough for children to communicate if a tooth hurts or if they feel anything different in their mouths. Some common signs to watch for include:

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks
  • Sensitivity to sweet foods and drinks
  • Toothache
  • Trouble eating
  • Fussiness

If you notice spots on your child’s teeth or discolorations of any kind, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with a dentist. The sooner you get a professional to intervene, the less damage will occur to the tooth.

Making Oral Care Fun and Engaging

One fun way of getting your child interested and engaged with brushing their teeth is to designate a song as the “toothbrushing song.” You can put it on every time they brush their teeth.

You can also set a timer for two minutes and pretend that brushing their teeth is a race. There are also excellent tooth brushing apps that can keep your child interested.

Reward good oral hygiene. Avoid candy, but offer stickers or other small prizes instead. Make sure to also let your child choose their toothbrush.

Prioritizing Oral Health

Children can quickly learn good and bad habits, so helping them establish positive ones regarding oral health is crucial. Making oral health fun and learning to recognize the early signs of cavities can help prevent serious dental issues. Turn to We Make Kids Smile to speak with a children’s dentist in Prince Frederick. Schedule your appointment today.

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