February 2017 is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) and with it, we thought we would share some tips on how parents can help prevent tooth decay in their children’s teeth.
1) Sharing is NOT Caring!
Don’t share utensils with your child or “clean” a pacifier by putting it in your mouth. You can transfer cavity causing germs to your child. Eww!
2) First Dental Visit
Your child’s first dental visit should be no later than 1 years old – as soon as the first tooth starts to appear. Once your baby has teeth, he or she can get cavities.
3) Avoid drinks with added sugar like soda and juice drinks.
The cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth love to eat sugar and produce acid that wears away enamel, which is the protective hard outer shell of your teeth. Combine this with acid from the drink and you’re eroding enamel faster than than you think.
This year’s NCDHM campaign slogan is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile”, reflecting the well known advice that sugary drinks are not good for nutrition or teeth. Sugar causes cavities.
4) Brush for 2 minutes – 2 times per day
For children younger than 3 years, you should begin brushing teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.
5) Seal out Decay
A sealant is a thin, protective coating that covers the chewing surface of your teeth. Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.
Both children and adults can benefit from the protection of sealants, but the earlier you have them applied, the better off you are.
First molars appear around age 6, while second molars come in around the age of 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through may help keep them free from cavities right from the start. Ask us about dental sealants for your child.