Tooth decay is pretty rampant among children. In fact, approximately 20 percent of children aged 5 to 11 have an untreated cavity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If these cavities are not treated soon enough, they can lead to severe pain and even more decay. It is up to you as a parent to keep your child's oral health in good shape. Here is some advice on helping your child avoid cavities:
Keep Sweets Out of the House
If your little one is like most kids, he probably has a sweet tooth. Unfortunately, snacking on doughnuts and candy all the time is not very good for his teeth. The sugar from these treats can linger on his teeth for a while, attracting bacteria. That's why it is best to keep sugary snacks out of the house. If you do give your child a sweet snack once in a while, make sure he washes his mouth out with water afterward.
Teach Your Child Not to Share His Food and Beverages
Does your child share his food and drinks with other kids at school? If so, you need to tell him to stop doing this. If your child shares food with a kid who has cavities, the bacteria can get passed into your child's mouth.
Do not Skip Dental Checkups
No matter how much your child fusses or cries, do not let him skip his dental checkups. During a dental visit, the dentist will thoroughly clean your child's teeth and look for signs of decay. If the dentist detects a cavity, he can fill it before it causes your little one any major pain.
Make Brushing More Exciting
It is likely that tooth brushing is not the highlight of your child's day. He may even dread the act and try to avoid it as much as possible. However, as you probably already know, brushing is one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities. If you make brushing a little more fun for your child, he will not dislike it as much. For instance, you could play a fun two-minute song or buy your child a flavored toothpaste.
Ask About Dental Sealants
Some children are prone to cavities more than others. If your child is one of those kids, it may be time to talk to the dentist about dental sealants. They are placed over the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent bacteria and plaque buildup, according to WebMD. Painting on dental sealants takes just minutes and will not cause your child any discomfort. Although these sealants can last a decade, you should still have the dentist check your child's sealants at each checkup for wear and tear.
Feed Your Child Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
Another way to reduce your child's risk of tooth decay is to give him crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as pears, apples and carrots. They have a very crunchy texture, which helps remove food particles from your teeth. These fruits and vegetables also increase saliva production, helping wash away food debris and bacteria in your child's mouth.
Put Cheese in Your Child's Sandwiches
When you feed your child a sandwich, make sure to include a piece of a cheese in it. The calcium in cheese will strengthen your child's teeth, making them loss prone to decay.
Helping your child fight cavities does not have to be difficult at all. If you follow these helpful tips, you can keep your child's teeth healthy and strong. However, if your child still gets a cavity, have the family dentist take care of it as soon as possible.