Tooth decay and cavities are a common problem, not just in adults but also in children. Both are a concern for parents all over the world, a problem that may affect as many as half of all children from ages 2 to 11.
For parents out there, the first step in preventing cavities in your children is to understand what causes it and how to treat it.
Cavities and tooth decay occur in children when the bacteria in their mouth start eating away at their primary teeth. Also known as dental caries, the main reason why cavities occur in children is inadequate dental care, such as not brushing and flossing your child’s teeth enough.
One of the more common causes, however, is putting children to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Done regularly, doing so can put children at risk for what’s known as baby bottle tooth decay. This happens because the milk or juice from the bottle can sit in your child’s mouth as they sleep, which creates a place where bacteria can breed and grow.
Letting children eat what they want and when they want it, such as regularly letting your child eat or suck on candies, can also contribute to their risk for cavities.
The first thing that you’d want to do is to stop letting your child go to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. If you do give your child something to help him or her sleep, let your child drink water. Also, when you do let your children drink milk or sugary drinks, encourage him or her to drink from a bottle or a sippy cup, as well as to drink them quickly so that the teeth aren’t exposed as much to decay-causing sugars.
Encourage children to brush and floss their teeth every day as well, and be sure to keep their intake of sugary foods and drink at a minimum. Also, try your best to have your child checked by the dentist as soon as his or her first birthday.
For children below two years of age, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-fluoride toothpaste. The latter is because children below two years of age won’t likely know how to spit the fluoride toothpaste out of their mouth, and may end up swallowing it.
Flossing is also recommended and it’s best to that you brush, as well as floss, with your children so as to set an example for them.
Treatment for cavities in children will require dental work. For smaller cavities, dentists may use fillings. However, if the cavities are too big, the dentist may have to restore to using dental restorations such as a full crown to prevent the spreading of bacteria.
Dentists may have to remove severely decayed teeth as letting them stay can cause problems for the adult teeth in the future.
For parents, the best way to protect your child’s teeth from cavities and other dental problems is by setting an example. Also, if you teach your children healthy oral hygiene habits early on, such as brushing and flossing every day, as well as visiting the dentist regularly, they’re more likely to enjoy a healthy set of teeth once they grow old. More importantly, however, teaching your children good oral health habits will make sure that they’ll to stick to them throughout their life.
Be sure that your child practices proper oral hygiene and is taken for regular checkups to ensure good oral health. To schedule a routine checkup or professional cleaning for your child, contact Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111 or visit www.dentalassociatesofhoboken.com.