Your child is getting older and you worry about their teeth and if cavities are wreaking havoc on their dental hygiene. Good news is tooth decay is almost 100 percent preventable according to most dental experts. The key is to start a healthy dental routine as early as possible to prevent any extreme cavities from forming. Here are some tips on how to do so:
Don’t wait to visit the dentist
Most kids (and adults) need a dental checkup and cleaning every six months, and they should start early. It’s recommended to take your child to the dentist by his first birthday which is the number-one way to prevent tooth decay. This also establishes a healthy and safe atmosphere for your child to be brought up knowing dental checkups are good and prevent any fears they could develop if they were to come at a later age.
Avoid sharing spoons
Even before your little one’s teeth begin to sprout, cavity-causing bacteria called Streptococcus can colonize the furrows of a baby’s tongue—and saliva-sharing behaviors, like cleaning a pacifier with your mouth or using the same utensils, can spread the bacteria from your mouth to your child’s. Simply using gauze or a soft wash cloth and gently wiping your child’s gums after feedings can help remove bacteria, plus get them accustomed to having your finger—and later a toothbrush—in their mouth.
Use the right toothpaste
ADA guidelines recommend that parents use fluoride toothpaste as soon as their baby grows in their first tooth. Fluoride toothpaste assists in remineralizing areas of teeth that have been made weaker and susceptible to decay by bacterial acids. It’s recommended that kids by the age of 3 and under smear on toothpaste the size of a grain of rice, then graduating to a pea-sized dollop for kids ages 4 to 6. And always go for the fun bubblegum-flavored or glittery toothpaste; it will have the levels of fluoride your kids needs and make brushing fun so they get into a good habit.