Decay, Decay Go Away: 3 Ways to Prevent Cavities in Kids

A boy brushing his teethCavities are not only common in teens and adults. Younger kids like babies and toddlers can get them too. These happen when food particles and bacteria are left on their teeth and not brushed away. Acid can invade the tooth, weaken the enamel, and eventually form a hole or cavity.

The good news is you can keep cavities away with good oral hygiene and lifestyle habits. Mahoney Family Dentistry and other South Bend pediatric dentists share some of the things you can do prevent tooth decay in kids:

Practice proper oral hygiene early

Teach and motivate your toddlers to brush their teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Note, however, that you shouldn’t use fluoride toothpaste until your kid is two years old. At the age of six, most kids may have the ability to brush their teeth alone, but you still need to supervise the habit until age 12.

Avoid or limit sugary and acidic foods

Candies, cookies, and other sugary treats should never be a part of your child’s daily diet. The same is also true for soda, sports drinks, and other acidic beverages. You can let your kid have them occasionally, but make sure to have them rinse their mouth with water or brushing their teeth at least after an hour. This is to keep the sugar and acid from lingering in the tooth and eating away the enamel.

Get enough fluoride

Drinking fluoridated water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), keeps the teeth strong and reduces tooth decay by about 25% in kids and adults. If your water supply is not fluoridated, you can ask your dentist about supplements. Be sure to consult the dentist first to avoid fluorosis or discolored teeth due to overexposure to fluoride.

Apart from these tips, your dentist can also help prevent cavities by applying a dental sealant. This coats the chewing surfaces of the teeth to keep bacteria from settling in the molars. Remind your child, however, that sealants are never a substitute for daily brushing and flossing of teeth.