What Parents and Kids need to know about Tooth Decay

Children are always happiest when they’re healthy. It’s no fun to be sick or feel unwell. So, it’s up to parents to make sure that their children are healthy and happy by monitoring their diet and activities, by asking them about how they’re feeling when they start to show signs of illness, and by taking them to the doctor when they’re under the weather. Most parents know that dental health is just as important to maintain as physical health. If you’ve ever had a child with a toothache, you know that it’s just as inconsolable as an earache or a tummy bug. No amount of cuddling or calming words ever seems to be enough to sooth the discomfort. And although we can’t do much about the occasional earache or illness, it’s fortunate that a toothache is something that can be prevented most of the time.

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tooth decay is the most common chronic infectious disease affecting children in America. Tooth decay is often brought on by poor diet (too many sugary sweets or drinks), as well as lacking oral hygiene habits. Untreated, tooth decay in children can cause pain and lead to infections of the tissue surrounding the teeth that can directly impact eating, speaking, and school readiness. In short, tooth decay is no small matter and should be avoided by setting and maintaining a healthy diet and good oral hygiene habits in the home.

How does tooth decay form? Your child’s teeth are protected by a hard outer coating called enamel. Tooth decay begins when bacteria in the mouth mixes with sugar found in the food and drink they consume and produces acid on the surfaces of the teeth and the gums. This highly-acidic mixture can break down the enamel, which results in tooth decay and cavities.

How Parents Can Help Their Kids Prevent Tooth Decay

  • Plan to set good oral care habits as soon as the first tooth erupts
  • Serve your children healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Ask pediatric dentist Dr. Cobb about their thumb sucking habits
  • Monitor their snacking habits, limiting sugary juices
  • Brush their teeth with an ADA-approved toothpaste
  • Ask pediatric dentist Dr. Cobb about dental sealants
  • Teach them to floss regularly
  • See Dr. Cobb for routine teeth cleanings and oral health checkups
  • If you put your child down with a bottle, make sure it’s filled only with water

Dr. Cobb always says, “Good oral hygiene habits, combined with healthy food choices and bi-annual checkups, are the best ways to prevent tooth decay.” If you have more questions about dental health, please come see us in Olathe, Kansas!

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