Unfortunately, cavities are extremely common in children. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics show that an average of 1 in 5 children (ages 5-11) have at least one untreated cavity. These statistics are alarming considering that untreated tooth decay leads to more serious health and even developmental problems. Another reason these stats are alarming is because tooth decay is 100% preventable.
As we welcome the New Year and establish our resolutions for 2017, let’s make one to instill in our children the habit (and importance) of oral health.
Here are 5 tips to help ensure your children have a cavity-free 2017:
Set a Timer – Brushing for two minutes, twice a day is important. Kids don’t truly understand the concept of time, so setting a timer will help them know when to start and when they are done. The Disney Magic Timer App is a fun way for kids to time brushing AND make it into a gamer where they get rewards for brushing.
Use Fluoride – Fluoride is a very effective preventative when it comes to tooth decay. Children over the age of 2 should brush with fluoridated toothpaste – just be sure to keep a close eye on them. Make sure they only use a pea-sized amount and do not swallow it. At bi-annual dentist appointments, talk to your dentist about topical fluoride treatments they offer and if your child could benefit from them. If your water is not fluoridated, ask your dentist if your child might need fluoride supplements.
Master Flossing – Teaching your kiddos to floss at a young age is super-important. As soon as they have 2 teeth that are touching, you should begin flossing them and eventually let the child take over on his own. This will make it easy starting out and build a healthy habit. Flossing removes plaque buildup in between the teeth, which is a spot that cannot be reached from brushing alone.
Don’t Skimp on Dental Visits – All children should see a dentist once every 6 months starting at the age of 1. This is important for multiple reasons. For starters, it creates a healthy habit and instills the importance of oral healthcare from the beginning. It also helps to avoid fear of the dentist because they will be familiar and comfortable with their dentist as they grow older, instead of being thrown into the situation at 3 years old and being scared. However, the most important part of regular dental visits for children is to monitor their oral health and receive preventative care.
Find a Pediatric Dentist – After dental school, pediatric dentists go through a few extra years of specialty training specifically geared toward the different behavioral aspects and oral health needs of children – infants through adolescents – including kids with special health needs. This ensures that your kids have the best oral healthcare available to them. It also ensures that they will have the most pleasant and comfortable experience possible.
With a little dedication and persistence, we can instill healthy habits in our children, giving them a start on a healthy lifestyle as they grow into adults.
At Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry, we can help you understand more about your child’s specific oral health needs. Visit our website or contact our office to schedule an appointment for your child today.