Did you know that 60 percent of children will have tooth decay before the age of 6? While this statistic may be alarming, it is important for parents to know that by following some recommended pediatric dental care tips at home, they can help prevent childhood cavities — even before their kids’ first teeth come in.
The following guide can help ensure that you are keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy and cavity-free.
How to Prevent Childhood Cavities
Ban Baby Bottles at Bedtime
One of the biggest causes of early tooth decay in children is the act of putting your baby or toddler to bed with a bottle or sippy cup. Unfortunately, many parents know that this can create unwelcome cavities, but they do it anyway. Even if milk is in the bottle, sugar and bacteria will bathe your child’s teeth throughout the night, increasing the chance of tooth decay. If you are putting baby to bed with a bottle, it’s time to ban this bad habit right now! And if your kid really needs a bottle or sippy cup before heading to bed, be sure to fill it with water only.
Supervise Brushing and Flossing Time
Leaving a young child alone to brush and floss his or teeth can be a big parenting faux pas. Many kids under the age of 8 do not have the fine motor skills needed to brush or floss their teeth which can wreak havoc on their dental health if left to do it alone. Ward off early childhood cavities by always supervising your child’s brushing, and be sure that every tooth is cleaned appropriately.
Flossing is even more difficult for young children to accomplish on their own, so parents should floss kids’ teeth until they are old enough to manage doing it themselves. Once your child reaches the age of 8, they should be able to floss on their own, but definitely supervise the process until they are a pre-teen in order to ensure that they are responsible enough to be left to their own accord.
Skimp on Sports Drinks
Another common cause of cavities in kids is drinking sports drinks. While it is helpful for parents to cut back on buying sugary sodas and juices, sports drinks are definitely another culprit to causing childhood dental decay. Because bacteria in our mouths feed on sugar and erode tooth enamel, it’s never a good idea to swap sugary drinks with a sports drink — even if it is touted as being healthy! If your child is involved in sports, ensure healthy habits by sticking to filling his or her sports bottle with water for both practice and during games.
Don’t Put off a Visit to a Pediatric Dentist
Like adults, children need dental cleanings and exams every six months — even if proper dental care is happening at home. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Dental Association (ADA) both recommend taking your child to a pediatric dentist by the time they are 12 months old. Research shows that the earlier you take your child to see a dentist, the less likely he or she will develop early tooth decay — and even cavities later in their adult life.
It’s important to know that a child’s cooperation level varies during their first few years of development, so a first dental exam may just consist of seeing the office and meeting one of our Clintonville Ohio pediatric dentists or dental hygienists. At the very least, the process will establish trust with our dental professionals and set a good example of the importance of seeing a dentist every six months. Parents are always welcome to accompany their children during their first dental cleanings to ease their nerves, and ensure that trust is established between their kids and our dentists.
Remember: These tips are general guidelines. If your child has a cavity or other dental issue, don’t hesitate to contact our Clintonville, Ohio dentists for a pediatric dental exam.
Compassionate Pediatric Dentists in Clintonville Ohio
Our pediatric dental team at Capstone Dental in Clintonville understands that dentistry for kids is different from adult dental care. We can expertly ensure that your child is comfortable during a dental appointment while providing skilled and modern oral health care.
Is your child due for a dental cleaning or exam? Contact us today to make an appointment for your toddler, child, or teen!