Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic childhood disease in the United States, and is five times more common than childhood asthma and twenty times more common than diabetes.
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has found that 42 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have cavities in their baby teeth. The same study shows that 21 percent of children from the same age bracket have cavities in the permanent teeth.
The development of tooth decay can have long-lasting effects, even if the cavity “only” affected a baby tooth. Tooth decay on baby teeth can easily spread to the permanent teeth underneath, significantly increasing the likelihood of the permanent tooth succumbing to decay later on in life. In some cases, early tooth decay can affect the proper formation of permanent teeth.
Fortunately, tooth decay is highly preventable. All it takes is a little vigilance on your part as a parent and on our part as dentists in Lehigh Valley. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you minimize the chances of your child developing cavities.
Limit Sugary Treats and Beverages
Oral bacteria feast on the sugar content of our food and the byproduct of them “eating” the sugar is the acid that causes tooth decay. Limiting the consumption of sugary candies, juices, and sodas can help by reducing the amount of sugar that oral bacteria are exposed to.
Naturally, this does not mean your children are no longer allowed to have a piece of candy or some chocolate. If your child has scored high on an exam or has finished his or her household chores for the day, feel free to give them a sugary treat. Just be sure to have them rinse their mouth with water right after.
Take Baby’s Bottle When Sleeping
Babies have tendency to fall asleep while drinking from the bottle, while it is possible for toddlers to fall asleep while drinking from their sippy cups. When you notice this, take the bottle/cup away. Not only do you prevent a stain on your couch, but you also eliminate the teeth’s prolonged exposure to sugar.
Make Brushing a Family Affair
Proper brushing and flossing is vital towards preventing cavities. Make brushing and flossing a family activity. This way, you can check if your child is following the correct way of brushing and flossing teeth.
Ask your dentist if he or she offers dental sealants, a protective coating that is applied over the teeth. This coating acts as a shield between sugar and the teeth, helping prevent cavities. Fortunately, many trusted dental practice in Lehigh Valley, such as Brookside Dental Care, offer dental sealants.
Toddler Tooth Decay And How To Prevent It, colgate.com
Dental Caries (Tooth Decay) in Children (Age 2 to 11), nidcr.nih.gov