Tooth decay can have serious consequences; a pediatric dentist can help prevent it. They are also experts in communicating with children about dental health and educating them on maintaining proper oral hygiene habits for life. A pediatric dentist can help your child overcome bad habits affecting their teeth, such as thumb sucking and pacifier use. These habits can be challenging to break, but they can lead to permanent damage if left unchecked.
One of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay in children is to make sure they brush and floss their teeth. Proper brushing helps remove plaque, food particles and bacteria from your child’s teeth.
You can start teaching your child how to brush early – even before they have teeth! The more your child sees you value their oral health, the more they will want to do the same. The key is to get kids into a routine of brushing and flossing twice daily, and supervise their brushing until they can do it independently. Once your child can safely do it alone, you can introduce other habits to help them maintain oral hygiene.
Regular visits to the dentist will help prevent tooth decay and other dental issues in children. During these check-ups, your child’s dentist will be able to detect early signs of tooth decay and gum disease and then help you set up a good oral care routine. During these appointments, your child will also have their teeth cleaned and fluoride treatments administered to protect their enamel against further decay. In addition, your dentist will be able to diagnose cavities and other issues and give your child tips on keeping their teeth healthy at home. A child should visit a pediatric dental group around six months after their baby teeth emerge or by their first birthday. During this initial appointment, your child’s dentist will help you implement a preventative strategy to protect their first tooth from decay and demonstrate how to brush and floss.
Flossing is vital for good oral hygiene, and kids must floss daily. Food and bacteria trapped in spaces between teeth can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Besides the obvious benefits of preventing cavities and halitosis, flossing can also improve oral health by removing plaque from teeth, the sticky, smelly film of bacteria that builds up on and around teeth. Although some research has shown that flossing reduces the risk of gingivitis, more studies are needed to determine if it helps prevent other diseases associated with gum disease. For now, many dentists recommend that children floss once a day.
A healthy diet plays an essential role in preventing tooth decay in children. Eating foods low in sugar and high in nutrients can promote a healthy mouth and protect teeth from decay. Good sources of calcium and phosphorus include dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese and leafy greens. Protein-rich foods such as meats, poultry and fish are also good for the teeth. Fruits are another great choice, particularly crunchy fruits such as apples and pears, which can massage the gums and dislodge plaque. They’re also packed with fiber which helps to create mineral defenses against tooth decay. Chewing hard foods can help the flow of saliva, which neutralizes acids in the mouth and also helps to wash away particles of food that are sticky or difficult to brush. Meat and fish, including lean cuts, are excellent sources of protein.