The good news is that you can follow these 10 tips to prevent cavities in your child.
Luckily for you and your child, there are easy habits you can develop to decrease the chances they will develop a cavity.
1. Have them drink water throughout the day.
Water washes away food particles. It also helps keep the mouth moist and pH balanced. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks. Juices are to be avoided, too! Juices contain a lot of sugar, and some juices, like orange juice, are also very acidic. A combination of sugar and acid feeds the bad bacteria in your child’s mouth.
2. Choose non-starchy, non-sticky snacks.
Sugar gets all the bad press for causing cavities, but starchy snacks deserve equal blame. Little crackers (we’re talking about you, little fish!) and pretzels are examples of starchy snacks that should be noted. Starchy foods remain sticky and gummy on teeth for hours. This gummy paste feeds the bacteria. The same is true for any sticky snack like fruit-shaped gummy snacks and raisins. Foods that stick to teeth stick around long afterward to feed bacteria. Avoid them, especially when you’re child won’t be able to brush for a while.
Choose “melty” snacks instead. For instance, yogurt will dissolve and melt easily with water and saliva. Likewise, cheese, nuts, apple slices, and other protein-rich snacks are less likely to cling to teeth and feed bacteria.
3. Don’t let them graze! Restrict meal and snack times.
Each time your child eats a snack, they are giving the bacteria a chance to eat, too. Limit the number times a day your child eats. If they must have a snack between meals, be sure to pick wisely. Drink plenty of water after snacks, too.
4. Brush children’s teeth as soon as they get their first tooth.
It is good to introduce brushing at the appearance of the first tooth. For babies and infants, a washcloth or teething toothbrush can be used as this method will be more readily accepted by the child. At this age, it is not necessary to use fluoride, and toothpaste specially made for babies and young children without fluoride is best as they will like the taste and want to swallow the paste or suck on the brush. For children 3 to 6 years and those able to spit out toothpaste, a pea-sized dollop of fluoride-containing toothpaste is appropriate.