When talking about the most common infectious disease in children, tooth decay won’t be what you’ll think of. Truth is, it is affecting almost half of the children’s’ population around the world. It is called a silent epidemic with a pain level that can be compared to that of a broken arm or leg. Tooth decay also affects school children’s performance at school. Most students suffering from toothache oftentimes skip school and cannot focus in class resulting in a below-average GPA. In the long run, untreated cavities and tooth decay can cause expensive orthopedic sessions that will empty your wallet. To avoid these, cavities should be given attention at a young age. Prevention should be done to ensure better dental health.
Parents are having a hard time determining how much dental care their kids need. When does good dental care begin? Even before the baby’s first tooth appears, good dental hygiene should be developed. Tooth decay can be prevented and the key to it is to start a healthy dental routine as early as possible. Here are 5 ways a parent can prevent childhood cavities.
1. Keep an eye for symptoms. Cavities show adverse side effects and your child could be experiencing some of it without your knowledge. Children, especially babies, are having a hard time expressing themselves well thus parents need to be on the lookout for signs of a cavity. Symptoms that you should watch out for are sensitivity to hot/cold/sweet, white spots on the teeth (a sign of the enamel breaking down), black/light brown/dark brown spots on the teeth, and pain in the mouth. Once you notice your child showing any of the symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
2. Promote hydration. Drinking at least eight cups of water every day is a great way to help your child steer clear of cavities. Drinking a lot of water and staying hydrated prevents dry mouth which is a condition where the mouth doesn’t have enough saliva to wash away bad bacteria. This is also a good way to avoid an excessive amount of bacteria that make your child more susceptible to cavities and bad breath.
3. Don’t forget to brush. As soon as a tooth appears, start brushing your child’s teeth. Pay careful attention to the back of the teeth or the hard to reach crevices as bacteria and plaques lurk in these areas. A rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is recommended for children younger than 3 years old then switches it over to a pea-size when they turn 3. Be sure to demonstrate proper dental hygiene at all times since your example is powerful.
4. Monitor eating habits for dental hygiene. Eating healthy snacks is beneficial to your child’s body but for the sake of dental hygiene, you should monitor what they eat, when and how much. Excessive snacking dries up the mouth and can lead to an excessive amount of bacteria in the mouth which in turn can lead to plaque and build-up on the teeth. Foods with high sugar content can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth while high calcium foods can strengthen their teeth and gums.
5. Do a routine maintenance. Make an appointment with a dentist every six months to help you keep your child’s teeth in check. This way you can keep up with the routine maintenance of your child’s dental checkups. Cavities can grow undetected thus it is important to bring your child to a dentist since they can keep an eye on vulnerable areas where these cavities can grow.
Download this infographic.