How to Avoid Toddler Cavities
How to Avoid Toddler Cavities
You’ve heard of Type 1 diabetes. You might know someone with asthma. But how much do you know about do you know about tooth decay? Poor teeth, or dental caries, is one of the most common chronic illnesses affecting young people. Your child is at risk of developing cavities even if she never tastes a piece of added sugar.
The germs that can rot your teeth are resilient. Close family members can spread them amongst themselves, making your child extremely vulnerable. Excess sugar and poor brushing habits exacerbate the problem.
You might be contributing to the problem unintentionally. Dentists say that falling asleep with a bottle can promote bacteria growth in babies’ mouths.
According to the New York Times, “dentists nationwide say they are seeing more preschoolers at all income levels with 6 to 10 cavities or more. The level of decay… is so severe that they often recommend using general anesthesia because young children are unlikely to sit through such extensive procedures while they are awake.”
Toddlers are routinely being diagnosed with tooth decay that’s so advanced they need surgery.
Luckily, you’re not completely helpless. There’s a lot that you can do to protect your child’s teeth.
Know Your Risk
Bad teeth run in families because germs spread from person to person. Sharing a spoon with your little guy? You just swapped bacteria. If you’re prone to cavities yourself, you’ll pass along a lot of the damage-causing germs. You can try to avoid this by being vigilant.
You can properly assess your child’s risk factor by taking him to a pediatric dentist.
Practice Good Hygiene
Everyday brushing needs to become a habit as soon as your child’s baby teeth start popping up.
Springs Pediatric Dental Care, a popular dental office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, reports that: “From your child’s very first visit, our goal is to teach them proper oral hygiene so they never have to face gum disease. This is because gum disease can be serious business. It’s often painless, right up until the teeth are gone… Gum disease may not be something you’re worried about when your children are young, but prevention starts now.”
A child with poor gums is a child who is at high risk of developing cavities. That’s why it’s so important to instill good habits into your children while they’re young. Their lives will be easier if they grow up understanding the importance of dental hygiene.
Avoid These Traps
The American diet is chock full of sugary treats and snacks. In fact, some parents might not even realize how much sugar their children are eating. A lot of food marketed to kids is labeled “healthy” even though it contains as much added sugar as a Snickers bar.
Here are some tips parents concerned about cavities should follow:
- Don’t trust the marketers. Read every label, even if it says it’s healthy.
- Limit sugar.
- Don’t rely on juice. It’s a better choice than soda but not by much.
- Choose tap water instead of bottled. The added fluoride helps keep your teeth in strong condition.
- Take care of your own mouth. Speak to your dentist about ways to decrease the harmful bacteria on your teeth.
You can’t eliminate all of the harmful bacteria in your child’s mouth but you can greatly reduce it.
Visit the Dentist
It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t need to take your toddler to the dentist. After all, baby teeth will eventually fall out. However, experts recommend that children go to the dentist when their first teeth appear or when they have their first birthday. Delicate baby teeth require as much attention as adult teeth.
If your child’s first set of teeth become rotten or damaged, it could lead to effects that last a lifetime. Her permanent teeth may grow in crooked or even stained.
You should visit a pediatric dentist rather than a family practitioner. You want your child to be seen someone who’s very experienced with treating young people. A toddler’s dental needs are very different than an adult’s.
Protect Your Child
Cavities are a serious problem. If you’re not careful, it can be easy to allow your child’s dental habits to lapse. A lot of parents allow their children to take care of their own brushing from a very young age.
This is a great way to promote independence but it can actually harm your child’s teeth. Expert dentists recommend monitoring a child’s brushing until they’re at least six. Toddlers are notoriously careless and rarely get every spot when they clean their teeth.
Try to turn brushing your teeth into a fun family activity. You can sing and dance or create a little story about defeating the “sugar beasts.” Use kid-friendly toothpaste. The flavor might make you gag but your little one will probably love it.
Teach your child to take care of her teeth. You won’t regret the effort.