Our mouths, including our children’s are full of hundreds of different types of bacteria. Some bacteria are helpful while others are not. Some of those that are harmful facilitate tooth decay. Thankfully, you can help you children fight against tooth cavities with a few tips.
Fluoride is a mineral that prevents tooth decay. It can also stop or reverse early tooth decay. It protects the teeth against mineral loss in the tooth enamel and also replaces any minerals that have been lost.
Fluoride also reduces the ability of bacteria to make acid. Acid from harmful bacteria strips the enamel of its natural minerals and prevents it from repairing itself. As a result, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, causing cavities.
Your child can get fluoride from drinking fluorinated water from a community water supply or brushing their teeth using fluoride toothpaste. If your pediatric dentist thinks that your child is not getting enough fluoride, they can recommend a fluoride rinse, fluoride tablets or apply a fluoride varnish or gel to the teeth.
Watch what your child eats and how often they eat it
Cavities can easily be prevented by watching what your child eats. Bacteria in the mouth feed on starches and sugars and this gives them the opportunity to multiply and produce more acid that wears away the tooth enamel and eventually leads to tooth decay.
To avoid this, you can limit the amount of snacks that your child takes in between meals. Make it clear that sugary drinks, soda, cookies and candies are for special occasions, limit the amount of fruit juice and make sure that your child does not eat or drink anything with sugar before they go to bed.
Teach your child how to brush their teeth
You should encourage your child to brush their teeth at least two times a day. You should also supervise them when they are brushing. If your child is between 2-6 years old, you should put toothpaste on their tooth brush. A pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is usually sufficient.
Rather than swallow the toothpaste, tell your child to spit it out. Children under 6 years old may swallow toothpaste without knowing it. If your child swallows too much fluoride toothpaste during the years that their teeth are forming, they may develop permanent teeth dental fluorosis (white lines or flecks).
Take your child for regular check-ups
Taking your child for regular check-ups is beneficial because the dentist will:
- Apply fluoride varnish or gel if need be
- Show your child how to clean their teeth properly
- Check for early signs of tooth decay
- Remove dental plaque
Learn more about our child dental check-ups
Call us for more information (617) 600-3442