Cavities, or dental caries, are the most common chronic childhood disease affecting people between the ages of 6 and 19. Fortunately, there are lots of different measures you can take to prevent tooth decay and cavities in your little ones. Partner with your pediatric dentist, and use this guide to keep your children's teeth healthy.
Limit Carbohydrate Intake
While sugar can contribute to tooth decay, you shouldn't just be limiting your child's candy intake. Cavities are caused by the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria's purpose is to break down sugars and carbohydrates. Limiting foods with carbohydrates, such as pastas, fruits, vegetables and bread products, can help prevent tooth decay. This doesn't mean the foods should be eliminated completely; they also provide nutritional value. Teach your kids to get in the habit of brushing their teeth after every meal as a preventative measure to combat these acids.
Avoid Overindulging In Acidic Foods
Lemons, tomatoes, oranges and other foods with high acid content can lead to tooth decay. This acid can break down the enamel on your teeth in much the same way as the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth can. Eating these foods in moderation and brushing afterward is a good way to prevent tooth decay. Soft drinks, which are both high in sugar and acid, should be avoided by young children for their dental as well as their overall health.
Brushing Isn't Enough
While having your children brush their teeth regularly is important, it isn't enough to stop tooth decay. Floss can get in between the teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. This helps to remove all the plaque and debris that could lead to tooth decay. Talk to your pediatric dentist about how to teach your children proper flossing techniques that prevent tooth decay and gum disease without damaging their gums.
Drinking plenty of water is good advice for anyone wanting to stay healthy, but it can also be highly beneficial for preventing tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water can prevent tooth decay by up to 25 percent. If you aren't sure whether or not your tap water has fluoride, you can check with your local municipality or you can purchase bottled water for your family. Talk to your pediatric dentist before giving fluoridated water to an infant. Adding this type of water to infant formula, which already contains some fluoride, can lead to a condition called fluorosis.
Your pediatric dentist can give you more helpful advice on preventing tooth decay. Create a partnership with the dentist to teach your children how to care for their teeth and help them to start a dental health routine that will last well beyond their childhood years.