The most common dental health issue seen in young children is tooth decay. Children’s teeth have a much softer layer of enamel than permanent adult teeth. This means they are prone to decay. But the good news is, preventing tooth decay in young children is possible.
At our family dental practices in Wentworth Point and Ropes Crossing, we have a lot of experience in kids dentistry. We aim to support parents through their little one’s dental milestones and create great lifelong dental habits. In this article, we share some tips on how to take care of children’s teeth.
5 Ways of Preventing Tooth Decay in Children
Children’s teeth are important for eating and speech development. But they also help guide their permanent adult teeth into place. So, it’s important to take good care of them!
Regular Tooth Brushing & Flossing
Daily toothbrushing is an essential part of preventing decay in children. Brushing your child’s teeth should start as soon as they have a tooth to brush. You can do this using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a rice-size dot of toothpaste.
Between the ages of 3 to 6, you can use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. This is also a good time for your child to start getting familiar with brushing their teeth themselves. This is with your help and supervision, of course.
There is no need to floss your child’s teeth before they have any teeth touching each other. But once their teeth begin to touch, gentle daily flossing can start. Good dental habits that are started early tend to stick! So, these early years are the best time to start showing your child how it’s done.
You can find some general guidance on the correct tooth brushing technique here.
Make Water Their Staple Drink
Sufficient water intake is a key ingredient for a healthy life, whether you’re young or old. Apart from keeping us hydrated, tap water in Australia contains decay-fighting fluoride. Making water a ‘staple beverage’ is crucial in preventing tooth decay in children.
Juice may seem like a healthy option. But most fruit juices lining supermarket shelves are water with added flavouring and a whole lot of sugar. Fruit juice doesn’t hold the same nutritional value as fruit in its whole form and our bodies don’t absorb it the same way.
Sugar interacts with the bacteria in our mouths producing enamel dissolving acid. It’s one of the leading causes of decay in children. Teaching young children to choose water over juice or other sugary drinks will help keep their teeth healthy for the long-term.
Provide Them with Healthy Food
For the initial phases of your child’s life, you are in control of what they eat. Use this opportunity to develop healthy habits and make eating wholesome foods the norm. This can have a big impact on both their dental health and general health over their lifetime.
Provide your child with nutritious foods from a range of food groups. Wholegrains, vegetables and fruits are excellent nutrient rich options. And dairy products are also good for developing healthy, strong teeth.
Avoid processed, starchy and sugar filled foods. These types of foods should be ‘treats’ that are consumed in moderation.
Routine Dental Check-Ups
Having your child see a dentist for regular check-ups not only forms good dental habits and a good relationship with the dentist early on. It also allows for early detection of any potential dental issues, including decay.
Tooth decay in children is preventable. It’s also reversible in the very early stages. But the early stages of tooth decay are difficult to see. Because of this, parents often can’t pick up on it in their children’s mouths before it’s too late.
When your child’s dental health is monitored by a dentist, decay can be identified in the early stages. Your dentist can then provide necessary treatment to prevent further damage and the need for major dental treatment later.
Take Good Care of Your Teeth & Gums
One of the best ways to promote good oral health and prevent tooth decay amongst young children is to lead by example. Take good care of your teeth and gums and your young ones will be likely to want to do the same. Be enthusiastic about tooth brushing, encourage healthy choices and speak positively about dental experiences.
Another reason why it pays to take good care of your oral health is because our saliva contains decay-causing bacteria, which is transferable to your child. Avoid sharing utensils and ‘cleaning’ their pacifier with your mouth, where possible.
Boon Dental Is Here to Help
We love children! We pride ourselves on providing a friendly, warm environment that even the littlest of patients can feel comfortable in. Our gentle dentists are experts in preventing tooth decay in children and are committed to creating positive dental experiences.
We’re here to support you and help your child have the best possible start to a life of optimal oral health. Is your child overdue a dental check-up? Don’t wait. Contact our friendly front desk team to make an appointment today.