Cavities and tooth decay can occur at any age. According to CDA, up to 60-90% of school-aged children globally have tooth decay. Around 2.26 million school days are missed each year due to dental illness, and tooth decay accounts for one-third of all day surgeries performed on children between the ages of 1-5. Cavities can permanently damage your children’s teeth and even lead to tooth loss, especially if left untreated.
So, what is a tooth cavity?
A tooth cavity is a common dental issue that occurs due to poor oral hygiene habits. When children consume sugary foods and drinks and don’t brush properly, a sticky film of bacteria forms on teeth, known as plaque. Bacteria in plaque produce acids and start to erode the tooth’s hard outer layer (enamel), causing holes or cavities in the tooth.
So, how to prevent cavities in kids?
Clean the gums before the eruption of the first tooth: If you want to protect your kid’s teeth from cavities, you should make your kids start practicing good dental care habits as soon as the first tooth appears. Dental specialists in Barrie even recommend parents clean their baby’s gums using a clean and damp cloth before the baby starts teething. Since a baby has 20 primary teeth below their gum line at birth that start to erupt at the age of 6 months, cleaning the baby’s gum using a soft, damp cloth every time you finish feeding your baby will help avoid the accumulation of bacteria and tooth decay.
Start good oral habits early: Once their first tooth erupts, you should begin to brush their teeth using a soft baby toothbrush. Until your child is old enough to brush and floss teeth on their own, you need to do this on their behalf. Not only will it prevent cavities but also ensure your kids develop good oral care habits. Starting brushing their teeth early will help your kids get used to the process and understand the importance of good oral hygiene. Moreover, a decayed tooth can interfere with good nutrition, speech development, and lead to weak and crooked teeth. So, taking good care of primary teeth is equally important as permanent teeth.
Schedule regular visits to the dentist: Scheduling a dental appointment for your kids will help you keep their teeth healthy and ensure that their tooth eruption is going on the right track. A pediatric dentist in Barrie will spend time analyzing your kid’s teeth and remove the plaque build-up and food debris stuck in their teeth to prevent the growth of bacteria, cavities, and other dental diseases. So, it is recommended to schedule your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday or as soon as their first tooth erupts and visit the dentist at least twice a year afterward.
Give your child tooth-friendly food: Just like your children, bacteria in the mouth love sugar and chocolates. Constant snacking, especially on sweets, chocolates, creates an ideal environment for cavity-inducing bacteria to do their job. So, it is recommended to limit the snacking time and provide your child with healthy meals. Also, ensure your children drink enough water to keep their mouths hydrated. Remember that juice can’t be considered as a healthy food item as it contains only water, flavoring ingredients, and a lot of sugar. However, you can replace the canned or packaged juice with a glass of fresh juice.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of the age, you should teach your children the consequences of not taking good care of oral health. Apart from the aforementioned tips to avoid cavities, you should take care of other things as well, such as using fluoride toothpaste to keep your kid’s teeth strong and healthy, never allowing your baby to sleep with a bottle or pacifier, etc.
Also, remember that not all dentists are good at handling children’s dental issues. So, make sure you carefully choose a dental clinic in Barrie while considering their experience, reputation, qualification, etc.