July 31, 2019
Little kids generally don’t like brushing and flossing. That is an unfortunate fact of the universe. However, it’s important to try any way you can to get them to take care of their teeth and prevent cavities. Children might love sweets, but they certainly won’t love the pain that comes with getting a cavity! Is there a surefire way to get your little one to brush and floss? A pediatric dentist in Birmingham offers some tips to help.
How Do Cavities Form?
Your mouth is home to many naturally occurring bacteria, most of which is harmless. However, when your teeth are exposed to lots of sugar, the bacteria create acids. These acids combine with food particles and saliva to form plaque, a sticky film that covers the teeth. Regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque before it becomes an issue. However, when allowed to accumulate, the acids in plaque can erode the enamel, or the outer surface of your teeth, and create holes. They can eventually reach the dentin, a softer layer of the teeth underneath the enamel.
If not treated at this stage, bacteria can continue eating through the tooth until they reach the dental pulp, or the inside of the tooth where the nerves are located. When this happens, you will experience a toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. Root canal therapy may be needed to save the tooth from infection and possible extraction.
How Can I Help My Kid Prevent Cavities?
Children may not understand the biology involved in cavities, but they know that they can hurt! Here are some ways to instill helpful cavity prevention habits in your kid:
- Let your child pick out their own toothpaste and brush so that they will look forward to it.
- Lead by example. Once your kid sees how important daily brushing is to Mommy and Daddy, they’ll grow up thinking it’s important they do it too.
- Give them a sticker on a chart every day they remember to brush (and floss) all by themselves.
- Teach them how important it is to go to the dentist every 6 months. If you see a family dentist, schedule all of your appointments on the same day and make it a fun family outing.
- Offer your little one mouth-healthy snacks like fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, and other dairy products.
- Limit their consumption of sugary snacks like candy or ice cream.
- Offer them water to drink instead of juice or soda, which can coat their teeth in sugar and acid.
It’s never too early to teach your child about proper oral hygiene. By following these tips, you can help them avoid cavities and keep their smile healthy and happy for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Angelica Rohner completed her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry. She is Board Certified in Pediatric Dentistry and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. To learn more about how she can help prevent cavities in your child’s teeth, contact her at (205)-870-0892.
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