Stop Your Kids’ Cavities Before They Start
Great oral care is the best way to prevent dental cavities in children, and teaching kids good habits early sets the stage for a lifelong healthy smile. Just like a wholesome diet and exercise helps bodies stay fit, good oral hygiene helps prevent child tooth decay. The American Dental Association (ADA) offers great advice for preventing cavities in children. The following tips can help parents develop a healthy dental care routine for kids of any age.
Anti-Cavity Tips for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
- Clean your baby’s gums with a moistened gauze pad after feeding.
- When teeth first appear, use a child’s soft toothbrush and plain water to clean them.
- Begin flossing daily when teeth grow close enough to touch each other.
- Use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Supervise your children until they can brush without swallowing toothpaste.
- Start dental checkups at one year of age.
Tips for Older Kids and Adolescents
- Brush your child’s teeth twice every day and help with flossing until they are six or seven years old; at this age, begin to teach them to brush their own teeth. You may need to supervise them until they are about 10 years old.
- Schedule regular visits with your dentist to make sure that your child’s oral hygiene routine is effective.
- Ask your dentist about dental sealants; these are plastic coatings that are applied in areas where tooth decay commonly starts.
- Remind your kids and adolescents of the importance of good oral hygiene.
- Educate your older children about the dangers of poor food and beverage choices, oral piercings, and tobacco use.
- Consider purchasing a mouth guard for kids involved in sports.