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The Role of Parents in Cavity Prevention

May 7, 2015 - 03:05 PM EST |  Posted under: Pediatric Dentistry

The foundation for healthy permanent teeth is laid early in the course of your child’s life. If you don’t take cavity prevention seriously during the first two years, your child has a higher risk of developing cavities in his or her permanent teeth. Establishing a good oral hygiene routine and seeing a pediatric dentist are two of the most important things you can do to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. Children respond most readily to praise and approval, and they learn by imitating their parents. As a role model for your child, you can help ensure that his or her early physical and mental development encourages healthy dental hygiene habits and routine visits to your family dentistry clinic.

Understanding Primary and Permanent Teeth 

Your child’s primary teeth will start to erupt when he or she is about six months of age. Although they don’t stay long, these teeth are important for chewing and learning to speak. They also serve as placeholders to ensure proper alignment and spacing of permanent teeth, so it’s important to take care of them. When permanent teeth erupt, their surfaces are porous and vulnerable to cavities. If decaying primary teeth are also present, bacteria can easily spread and attack the newly formed enamel. This makes brushing more difficult, but it’s especially important to maintain oral hygiene during this transitional stage to ensure cavity prevention.

How Parents Can Encourage Cavity Prevention

As a parent, you play a critical role in your child’s dental health. Twice-daily brushing using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste should begin at the age of two. After your child starts brushing independently, re-brush afterwards to ensure that hard-to-reach areas are clean. Brushing isn’t the only key to cavity prevention. Family dentistry experts recommend a healthy, tooth-friendly diet with few sugary snacks and beverages. You should also make an appointment with a pediatric dentist as soon as your child’s first tooth appears. Check with your local dental association to find a pediatric dentist in Florida, Maryland and Virginia.

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