As parents, there are so many things that’ll be going through your mind when raising children. You want the best for them at all times, and the best refers to every single aspect in your children’s life. As you focus on their health, be sure not to neglect one seemingly small but very important detail—oral health.
One of the most common problems when it comes to your children’s oral health are cavities. Not only are cavities unsightly, but when they reach the extreme point, these could also be very painful. While going to a dentist regularly is important, this is only one part of the solution. As the parent, you have to take a proactive approach alongside your dentist to discuss a proper plan for your children. Professionals from https://familydentalhealth.com/ or whichever clinic in your local area will help you with just that.
On the home front, here’s what you can do to prevent childhood cavities in your children:
- Brush Your Kids’ Teeth
Brushing your children’s teeth is very important. But how early do you start? As soon as your baby starts to eat solids, typically around their fourth to sixth month, you’ll need to start brushing your baby’s teeth.
Even when there are no teeth yet, you can still brush their gums and tongue. It’s as simple running a clean and damp washcloth over the gums to clear it of bacteria that could settle. Once your starts growing teeth, that’s when you can start brushing using an infant toothbrush. Use water and a grain-sized bit of fluoride toothpaste. Then when there are multiple teeth beside each other, that’s when you can start flossing. Here are other tips and tricks you can apply when brushing your children’s teeth:
- Make Brushing More Fun: Give your kids an active role. Take turns with each other when brushing their teeth. This can help them think of brushing as a fun activity with their parents rather than something they dread on doing.
- Play Music While Brushing: There are many children’s nursery rhymes with toothbrushing as the theme. A fun song that lasts for around two minutes will give you to keep brushing your children’s teeth until that song ends.
- Let Your Child Choose A Fun Toothbrush: Kids’ toothbrushes have so many designs with cartoon characters for a good reason. It’s to make them enjoy brushing their teeth more to get your kids excited to use their toothbrush.
Brushing your kids’ teeth early is very important, as even babies can get tooth decay and cavities. Especially for those who still drink milk before going to sleep, the milk could settle on the mouth and teeth until the morning. Depending on the milk’s sugar content, even milk can contribute to tooth decay.
- Get Your Kids To Stay Hydrated
A dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. When bacteria accumulate in your mouth, it also forms cavities. Drinking water is very important, not just for your kids’ health but also for preventing cavities. When your mouth is moist, cavities won’t have a place to breed in.
With children, however, this may be easier said than done. Not every kid likes to drink water as sweetened beverages seem a more pleasing option to their young minds. But as parents, here are some things you can do to encourage your children to drink more water:
- Buy Fun Cups: Like your kids’ toothbrush, you can also make drinking water more encouraging when your kids have fun, colorful cups. Better yet, get those with prints of their favorite cartoon characters. More importantly, let your kids choose their own cup! This can increase the chances of your kids actually drinking water from a cup that they really like.
- Stick A Slice Of Fruit In The Water: It’s usually the plain taste of water that makes kids not drink water. To switch things out a bit, stick a slice of fruit in their water. This adds flavor, minus all the nasty sugars. Plus, you’re also putting in more nutrients in their diet without them knowing it.
- Be A Good Role Model: Children will start drinking more water when they see you drinking water. They look up to their parents, so when they see their parents drinking water, your little ones will follow suit too.
- Visit A Dentist Regularly
If you make it a point to visit your children’s pediatrician for their health concerns, then you should include dental visits as well. If your children’s teeth don’t have any issues, a visit once every six months should be fine. If there are serious dental problems that need to be addressed and remedied, your dentist will inform you of more frequent appointments. So be up-to-date with those as well and don’t skip on them.
For infants, generally, you’ll want to bring your baby for their first appointment when they turn a year old, as there are more teeth now to warrant a full dental check. During this time, your baby could sit still on your lap so your dentist could check your baby properly.
Even when your children don’t seem to have any dental concerns, going for their semi-annual dental cleaning is a proactive measure against cavities. The earlier you start, the better. By doing so, you can also make your children more familiar with the dentist visits so they no longer have to go through the usual fear of your dentist and all their tools.
Apart from keeping cavities away, dentist visits are necessary as they’re able to proactively check any early signs of serious oral diseases like mouth cancer. Additionally, they could provide personalized care according to your children’s needs as they grow older.
- Use Fluoride
Even for young children, fluoride toothpaste is a must. However, keep a close eye on how much toothpaste you use per brush so your children won’t swallow a considerable amount of fluoride. On the other hand, the benefits outweigh the risks, and if your child is using a fluoride-free toothpaste, then it’s not doing anything much to keep their teeth protected from cavities.
Generally, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is enough. But if your dentist identifies problem areas in your children’s teeth, then you may be asked to supplement this with fluoride treatments.
- Limit Unhealthy Food
Kids love sweets, and so do bacteria. As much as possible, limit your children’s intake of sweets and sugary beverages. Make it a part of your discipline at home not to have sugary foods readily available to your kids. Think candies, cake, cupcakes, ice cream, etc.
What you can do instead is to have these reserved for the weekends or as a sweet treat after major school exams. If your kids frequent birthday parties, then you can also opt to have sweets only when they’re invited to those and on other special occasions.
On ordinary days at home, you can let your kids snack on fruits, vegetables, or healthier biscuits. When you go on your next supermarket run, take a conscious effort to choose healthier snacks. The more sweets your children take in, the higher their risk for cavities and dentist visits. Plus, sweets are very unhealthy for your kids too.
On this, remember to let your kids brush their teeth and rinse their mouth after eating sweets during the days they do get a free pass. A saltwater rinse is a good way to wash away bacteria and to prevent it from forming on your mouth.
- Limit Baby Bottles As Your Babies Grow Older
Once your baby is more than a year old, that’s the time for you to transition them to a sippy cup, training cup, or even an ordinary cup. Don’t prolong the baby bottle usage.
The negative side to baby bottles is that this may increase the likelihood of liquid pooling around their teeth. If left to linger, this can form a build-up of plaque, which leads to cavities. When you drink directly from a sippy cup or an ordinary cup, this is less likely, as your child swallows the milk, water, or beverage right way.
Also, drinking from a cup reduces the likelihood of your child bringing the beverage to bed or using it to soothe them to sleep. As much as possible, you’ll want to control milk and beverage intake only before brushing their teeth before bedtime.
No parent ever wants their kids to suffer from cavities. Apart looking ugly and distracting, these are also dangerous in the long run. One cavity left untreated may lead to other cavities forming on surrounding teeth. If your kids already have them, it’s not too late to act on them immediately with the help of a dentist. Be very sure not to have these forming again.
If your child has no cavities yet, then take the proactive route. Brush their teeth with them. Let them choose their toothbrushes or sippy cups. Limit sweets to once a week or during special occasions. The tips in this post can help you successfully prevent cavities so your kids grow up with the right habits.