Where do cavities come from?
Did you know that more than 40% of children will have a cavity by the time they start kindergarten? There are 3 major risk factors for cavities, Diet, Hygiene and Family History. Fortunately, you can mostly control most of the risks your child faces when it comes to forming cavities. Watch this fun and informative TedEx lesson on how cavities form.
"So how do I keep MY child from getting cavities?"
I am so glad you asked! The most obvious way to help is making sure your kids are brushing twice and flossing once a day. If they haven't hit first grade yet, YOU should be brushing and flossing for them. Children that young have not yet developed the manual dexterity to remove the plaque from their teeth.
What your kids have to eat and drink on a daily basis is also important. Staying away from juice, soda and chocolate milk is important, but did you know ANY fermentable carbohydrate can cause cavities? That's right......goldfish and cheerios can cause cavities just as easy as that glass of juice! The most important factor is the amount of time that the teeth are exposed to the sugar/carbohydrate. Fermentable carbohydrates like crackers and dry cereal, as well as fruit snacks and sticky candy stick to teeth and can stay there for hours. Sipping juice (like in a sippy cup) over the period of a couple of hours is more damaging than having some juice with a meal.
Fluoride is an important element of keeping teeth healthy and strong. Used in proper doses, it can be the tooth's biggest defense from decay. Using a fluoridated toothpaste or using a fluoride supplement is important to maintaining healthy enamel. Every child is different and if you have questions about the best way or amount of fluoride your child should be exposed to, ask your dentist.
Lastly, be sure that your kids are seeing a pediatric dentist every six months. Small cavities that are just starting can sometimes be stopped or reversed, but they have to be caught early! Bi-annual cleanings, exams and xrays can help identify problems early and professionally applied fluoride can help future cavities from forming.