If you have kids, you should know a thing or two about oral health to help protect your children from the harmful effects of tooth decay.
Tooth decay is an infectious, communicable disease which could lead to cavities.
It causes the destruction of teeth by acid-forming bacteria found in plaque.
Although it is preventable through good dental hygiene, tooth decay remains one of the most common infectious diseases, second only to the common cold.
But did you know that before a cavity is formed in the tooth, the initial effects of the bacterial infection can actually be reversed?
Here are the Top Ten Ways to Help Prevent Cavities:
- Children should see a dentist after the eruption of their 1st tooth, or no later than their 1st birthday.
- Brush the teeth or rinse the mouth with water after eating chewy, sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy).
- Minimize snacking, which creates a constant supply of acid in the mouth.
- Avoid constant sipping of sugary drinks or frequent sucking on candy and mints.
- Never put your child to bed with a bottle containing anything but water.
- Limit beverages other than water to mealtime only.
- Practice good oral hygiene, which consists of regular professional cleaning (every 6 months), brushing at least twice a day, and flossing once a day.
- Use fluoride toothpaste, which can help prevent tooth decay by reducing the loss of minerals and reversing the demineralization process at the early stages of decay.
- Consider an additional fluoride supplement. The systemic and topical use of fluoride is the most effective measure to prevent tooth decay.
- Brush your child’s teeth after giving any liquid medicine, as many contain high amounts of sugar. Likewise, any child using an inhaler or nebulizer for asthma should swish and rinse with water after breathing treatments or inhaler use.
Of course, since the bacteria that causes dental decay is contagious, it is important for the entire family to have good oral hygiene habits and routine dental care. Helping your child to brush and floss their own teeth will ensure proper removal of plaque and will help develop healthy habits. Remember, if you take good care of your teeth from an early age, your teeth will last a lifetime!