How to Prevent Cavities in Children
A child’s life is filled with bumps and bruising from the moment they learn to roll over, through the rough and tumble experience of learning to walk, and finally getting out there and enjoying the journey toward adolescence and adulthood. Did you know that learning how to prevent cavities starts even before a child is born?
Complications during pregnancy, and some medications the mother takes while the baby develops in the womb may inhibit strong enamel development. Sometimes, a tiny soft spot on a single tooth is the only noticeable damage. Sometimes the problem is widespread, affecting many teeth. A pediatric dentist can help you determine if your toddler’s teeth are strong and healthy, and may recommend routine fluoride treatments, special coatings, bondings, or stainless steel crowns to prevent further damage, like breaking and chipping. Only the most severe cases require extraction.
Other factors may lead to weak or missing enamel as your child grows. These include poor nutrition, taking certain medications, and even some illnesses, such as pneumonia and other infections that are accompanied by high fevers. Preventing cavities throughout the childhood years starts with ensuring your child eats a wide variety of healthy foods and snacks, especially from birth to five years.
Cavity Prevention Tips
To protect growing teeth and gums, you should develop a proactive plan that includes:
• Talking to your pediatrician about nutrition and exercise for every stage of development. A healthy, well-balanced diet during childhood lays the foundation for a healthier adulthood.
• Visiting a pediatric dentist early, preferably around the first birthday.
• Limiting sugary food and drinks while always providing water after a sweet snack to rinse away residual sugar that weakens enamel.
• Developing a teeth-brushing routine early. You can wipe a baby’s teeth with a soft, damp cloth starting about six months after new teeth start breaking through the gums.
• Talking to your dentist for toothbrush and paste recommendations. Not all brands include the same ingredients, and many contain added sweeteners that aren’t necessary for preventing cavities.
• Scheduling routine cleanings as your child grows. This step is beneficial for catching minor problems before they become bigger issues.
Choosing a Pediatric Dentist as Your Cavity Prevention Partner
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about potential side effects of any prescribed and over the counter medication you take. Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of sleep and exercise. These tips may help protect your unborn baby from developing enamel problems.
After your baby is born, continue your health maintenance plan and implement the above suggestions as a proactive strategy to protect growing teeth and gums. Children may face obstacles growing up, but living with cavities, sensitive teeth and other preventable oral conditions do not have to be one of the problems they face. If it has been over six months since your child has had a routine exam and cleaning, call All Stars Pediatric Dentistry today to make an appointment. We work with children of all ages, including pre-teens and teenagers! Call now at 770-292-9441.