Five Easy Steps to Preventing Children’s Cavities

By Dr. Grace Yum February 8, 2018

February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Yummy Dental and Orthodontics for Kids is celebrating by sharing five easy steps to helping your child avoid cavities.

Did you know that childhood cavities are the #1 childhood disease, even more prevalent than childhood asthma, childhood obesity, and juvenile diabetes?

Here are 5 easy steps to help your child:

  1. Brush two to three times per day and floss every night.
    1. Use a spin brush or electric brush – they are infinitely more effective than regular brushing to removing cavity-causing plaque!
    2. Remember to brush all surfaces. 
    3. Floss is the best way to remove all food and bacteria from in between teeth, where the toothbrush can't always reach! 
  2. Use an age-appropriate toothpaste.
    1. Children under age 2: use non-fluoride toothpaste that is safe to swallow. This is sometimes sold as training toothpaste. 
    2. For ages 2 and up: use tooth-paste that has fluoride. If your child cannot yet spit, then only use a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. 
    3. For ages 6 and up: add mouthwash to your routine. 
  3. Visit a pediatric dentist every six months.  Enamel in kids' teeth is different than adults' teeth. Cavities can spread very quickly in kids.
  4. Ask for digital x-rays. They are safer because they reduce exposure to radiation by 70% or more compared to traditional x-rays.
  5. Remember that it's not just candy that causes cavities.
    1. Do not send babies to bed with a bottle of milk – milk contains sugar.
    2. Avoid too much juice due to its sugar content – the AAPD recommends no more than 4oz/day.
    3. Avoid snacks that stick to teeth such as dried fruit or candy. 

Start Practicing These Dental Tips Today!

Whether you start with limiting sugary snacks, or just stick to brushing twice a day, the important thing is to start taking some measure to keep your child's teeth healthy. Furthermore, like we noted in tip #3 above, it is important to visit your pediatric dentist at least two times per year. If you happen to live in the greater Chicago or Glenview, IL areas, feel free to reach out to our team at Yummy Dental & Orthodontics for Kids. We would be happy to take care of you and your child, so schedule an appointment today! 

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