There’s nothing worse than having to subject your child to a filling or extraction because good oral hygiene habits and diet advice were not followed. Children can be just as slack at cleaning their teeth as many adults but if we instil good behaviour early in their life, those habits will provide them with a healthy mouth that will keep them smiling indefinitely. “Ignore your teeth and they’ll go away,” the old slogan used to say – and it’s still true today. Protecting your child’s teeth from cavities can be as simple as following a few simple recommendations.
Here are 11 easy things you can do to prevent cavities by taking great care your child’s mouth – and yours for that matter!
- Regular brushing twice a day using an age appropriate fluoride containing toothpaste.
- Avoid frequent snacking: Constant snacking, particularly on sweets, provides the perfect environment for cavity-inducing bacteria to do their work. Limit snacking to healthy, non sugar containing foods.
- Regular visit to the dentist. We would advise you bring your child to see us after their first tooth arrives. This also helps children get used to visiting the dentist at any early age and makes them comfortable with the experience.
- Avoid additional sugar: This is good for the body as well, and common sense when it comes to teeth. Fizzy drinks are a big no-no, of course.
- Consider dental sealants: Your dentist can place a protective sealant on your child’s teeth to that will prevent decay. The process is simple and can save headaches in the future. However, it must be remembered that this is not a substitute for good cleaning and limiting decay inducing foods
- Don’t share your food and drink: Cavities can actually be contagious! Because the bacteria that causes them can be passed from one user to the next, it’s best to avoid sharing foods and drink with children.
- . Drink a lot of water: Water should be the drink of choice. Avoid fizzy water and those with added ingredients such as fruit water. Bottled water is okay, but fluoridated tap water is best. Use a filter if you are concerned about the quality of your local tap water.
- Avoid sticky foods: Items like chocolate, biscuits and sweets aren’t good choices for healthy teeth at any time.
- Try not to eat or drink close to bedtime as there is less saliva in the mouth when sleeping so decay causing bacteria could do more damage at this time.
- Minimize juices: 100% can be good for you, but it’s best in moderation. Juice can be acidic, and sweet – two things that are no so good for our teeth.
- Consider cheeses and nut butters: Nuts and cheese have ingredients that help remineralize our teeth, and can be good additions to a lunchbox