Whenever food is consumed, the bacteria naturally found inside the mouth work to break it down, causing acid to develop. This acid can break down the structure of your teeth, as well as destroy tooth enamel and dentin, resulting in the common oral disease of tooth decay. Although anyone can develop this condition due to the presence of bacteria in all our mouths, children are considered one of the most at risk groups for developing tooth decay. Practicing good oral hygiene and changing certain parts of your lifestyle can help to minimize this risk.
Visit the Dentist
One of the most effective ways to help eliminate the risk of developing tooth decay is to take your child to the dentist for regular cleanings and oral exams. The American Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist within six months of developing their first tooth, no later than 12 months of age. Regular visits to the dentist can help in diagnosing and treating any conditions that could result in damage to your children’s teeth.
Brushing your child’s teeth regularly is also an important step in preventing cavities; brushing should occur at least twice each day. When possible, brush after each meal and just before bed time. There are a variety of toothbrush and toothpaste options you can purchase that are specifically suited for the oral care needs of children. Learn more about children’s dental care products in the Colgate Oral Care resources.
Watch Their Diet
The foods and beverages you give your child are just as important as the oral care practices they follow. It’s important to feed your children foods that are nutritious; foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as candy, cakes, sticky foods, and snacks should only be consumed in moderation. When your children do consume these foods, it is important to brush their teeth immediately, since carbohydrates have a tendency to adhere to the surface of the teeth.
Ensure Your Water Contains Fluoride
Make sure that the water in your community contains fluoride. To prevent tooth decay, it is recommended that children between the ages of 4 – 8 years old, consume at least 1.3 liters of water every day. If you live in a community that doesn’t add fluoride to its drinking water, or if you use a private well as your water source, your dentist may prescribe a daily fluoride supplement for you to give to your child.