Tooth Decay in Kids
Getting into a routine of regular dental care is one of the best ways for children to fight cavities. As young children develop more teeth at ages two to three years, the same general rules to fight cavities apply to them as for teens and adults:
Visit a dentist regularly
Eat tooth-healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, and cheese
Rinse with water if it isn’t possible to brush after each meal or snack
Brush teeth at least twice daily using fluoride toothpaste
A few caveats apply when teaching children to fight cavities:
Supervise, Supervise, Supervise: Be sure to supervise toddlers and young children as they brush and floss their teeth. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste is about the right amount, but remember that even this small amount should be spit out, not swallowed.
Consider Sealants: Based on the condition of your child’s teeth, some dentists recommend dental sealants to help prevent cavities.
Sip Some Tap Water: Many parents may want their children to drink only bottled water, but tap water in most areas provides a valuable source of fluoride that is important to help fight cavities in children.
Tooth decay in kids is a real problem. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tooth decay is more prevalent than both asthma and hay fever in children. In fact, more than 40 percent of children have tooth decay by kindergarten age, which is why brushing teeth for kids is so important.
Brushing Teeth for Kids
It’s never too early to start focusing on the importance of brushing teeth for kids. While some parents don’t make it a priority at an early age because kids’ teeth aren’t permanent, the earlier you can focus on brushing teeth for kids, the sooner it will become a long-term habit.
Focus on brushing teeth for kids at an early age and follow these tips:
You can start brushing teeth for kids as soon as the first tooth arrives.
Infant toothbrushes are gentle and make brushing teeth for kids easy and painless. (They also come in kid-friendly designs, colors, and shapes.)
Use a fluoride toothpaste twice a day to start building the habit of brushing teeth for kids.
Let your kids watch you and other family members brush their teeth. This will reinforce the importance of brushing teeth for kids.
Ask your dental professional when it’s okay to let kids brush on their own.