You want your child’s pearly whites to stay just that — pearly and white — forever. But the truth is, a child’s smile is at a higher risk of tooth decay than your own, and the majority of children will have had at least one cavity by the age of 12. What can you do to keep this from happening to your favorite little teeth? A lot. A children’s dentist in Framingham reminds parents that cavities are totally preventable, and shares instructions on how to keep them away, below.
How Cavities Form
A cavity (aka dental caries or tooth decay) is a hole or lesion that develops in the tooth enamel. It may occur when sugars and bacteria from what we eat and drink are not thoroughly removed from the surface of the tooth throughout the day. Tooth decay is especially common in young children because their tooth enamel has yet to harden, making it more vulnerable to the acids and sugars that kids love to consume. Combine a child’s sweet tooth with shaky dental hygiene practices, and that can spell trouble for their growing smile.
Good Habits for Healthy Smiles
There are some steps you can take to help make sure your child’s smile stays healthy and protected from tooth decay during the vulnerable childhood years.
To prevent early cavities from forming, try:
- Stay away from sugary beverages, like soda, juices, and sports drinks. It is wise to never put sweet drinks in a bottle, but if your child is in the habit of having them this way, slowly cut back by diluting the beverage with half water.
- Choose a dental home early. Visiting a children’s dentist regularly will help by establishing a consistent routine to prevent cavities.
- Make brushing and flossing a family affair. Your child is more likely to want to take care of their smile with these basic oral hygiene habits if they see everyone else doing it, too. Set a time for everyone to brush and floss their teeth together at night and in the morning.
- Don’t put your child to sleep with a bottle. This can allow sugars from milk to linger on the surface of the teeth and accelerate the rate of tooth decay.
- Remember that eating a balanced, nutritious diet is important. Getting your child to consume a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help their mouth stay healthy and better able to defend itself against tooth decay.
No one wants their child to have to deal with a cavity and filling, but the good news is that tooth decay is completely preventable with excellent oral hygiene at home and routine visits to your children’s dentist in Framingham! Keep these steps in mind and feel good knowing you are doing what you should for your child’s smile.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Mark Fried is a general dentist offering dental care for patients of all ages, including children, from the comfort of his Framingham practice. He reminds you that a parent plays a key role in the proper development of their child’s smile. To learn more about tooth decay prevention or to schedule a checkup and cleaning for your little one, you are invited to contact the office at 508-872-9339.