At the office of Dr. David J. Cobb, and Olathe Pediatric Dentistry practice, prevention of cavities in children is one of our biggest concerns. Frequently, we are asked what parents can do in order to prevent cavities in teeth with their younger kids. Obviously, no one wants to get a filling, or sit in the dentist chair for longer than need be, but this is especially true when it comes to kids! Here are some ways that you can help your children learn good habits and protect their teeth from future dental work.
Brushing. This seems like an obvious answer, but we can’t stress the importance of learning this habit enough. Proper brushing will prevent cavities and ensure a lifetime of good dental hygiene. When children are younger and frequently snack, it may be hard to get them to brush after every meal. Concentrate on brushing twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime, to kick-start this essential, life-long habit.
Tap water. Most tap water is fluoridated, and studies have shown that this mild fluoridation can make a big difference between children with cavities and children without. If you’re using a water provider or bottled water, you’re missing out on the benefits. Many companies can provide fluoridated water, just ask!
Avoid juices. Fruit juice is highly acidic. Diluting the juice when you give it to your child throughout the day can help mitigate some of the effects of the sugar and acid, but it won’t remove the risk completely. If your child is receiving enough calories, switch to water. Juice is damaging to baby teeth (and adult teeth) and getting your children in a water-for-hydration habit is more likely to keep them healthy in the future.
Choose less-processed snacks. A piece of fruit, some cheese, or a carrot is much less likely to cause tooth decay than a cracker or a gummy fruit snack. A simple rule of thumb is to pick the food closest to its natural state. It will likely be much lower in sugar and cavity-causing material than one that is processed.
Tooth sealants. If your child can sit still in a chair and keep his or her mouth wide open, you can consider using tooth sealants to protect their molars. A dental sealant is a plastic coating that helps food stay out of the pits and grooves in the hard-to-reach back teeth. Tooth sealants can last for many years and are a great way to help protect the teeth.
Fluoride rinse and treatments. Using a fluoride rinse before bed can be a great way to help protect and strengthen teeth. However, they shouldn’t be used before the age of 4, and you should supervise while your child is using the product. Fluoride treatments can be performed at the dentist’s office at his recommendation. Just ask one of us here at the office!
Check with Dr. Cobb, your Olathe pediatric dentist, if you have concerns about your child’s teeth or if you think that cavities are a problem.
This article is brought to you by Dr. Cobb The Kid’s Dentist, an Olathe, Kansas provider of comprehensive, high- quality pediatric dental care. If you wish to make an appointment for a dental cleaning or evaluation, feel free to contact the office of Dr. David J. Cobb.