Did you know that cavities in children are 5 times more common than asthma, 7 times more common than hay fever, and also more common than childhood diabetes and obesity? The good news, however, is that cavities are completely preventable with regular care from a pediatric dentist in Allen and a few good tips and tricks. And, because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s a fantastic time to find out how easy it is to help your child have a healthy smile. Keep reading for 3 tips you can start using right away to give them a lifetime of great dental health!
1. Check In With Their Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing habits are a big part of good oral health, and the earlier your child starts, the better. If you feel like you have a daily “brushing battle” on your hands, try the following tricks to make things more fun for your child:
- Try one of the many apps or games on your phone or tablet to encourage brushing and flossing. They’re a great way to engage your child and get them interested in their dental health.
- You can also play a song for 2 minutes (the recommended brushing time) while they brush to ensure they’re doing a thorough job.
- Letting them pick out their own toothbrush, toothpaste and floss is a great way to give them a sense of ownership and make them more interested in using these tools each day.
2. Minimize Sugar and Make Good Snack Choices
Unfortunately, sugar is in everything these days. In addition to impacting many children’s overall health, it can have serious consequences for their teeth as well.
Each time your child consumes something with sugar in it, acid is produced that wears away their enamel. If they consume a lot of sugar, or eat a little bit of sugar frequently, their risk of getting cavities is very high.
To minimize this risk, start by limiting sugary foods and snacks and offering low-sugar alternatives such as:
- Deviled eggs
- Spinach dip with veggies
- Plain (sugar-free) yogurt
- Peanut butter and celery
- Lunch meat and cheese “roll-ups”
Also, anything sweet should be eaten with meals instead of as a snack. It’s not only the amount of sugar that matters, but the frequency with which your child consumes it.
Remember the phrase, “Sip all day, get decay,” as a reminder not to sip or snack throughout the day.
3. Schedule a Checkup
Along with good hygiene and dietary choices, regular checkups with a dentist for kids in Allen are the foundation for a healthy smile. These visits are a way to make sure your child doesn’t have any undiagnosed cavities or other problems that will get worse if left untreated.
Checkups are also necessary for prevention. Professional fluoride treatments strengthen the enamel to prevent tooth decay, and sealants (thin, durable coatings on the back permanent teeth) have been shown to prevent 80% of childhood cavities.
A lifetime of good oral health starts in childhood. These 3 simple tips will help your child have a healthy smile now and for many years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Russell Choy is a children’s dentist in Allen who is dedicated to providing high-quality dental care to children. His goal is to help every patient establish great oral health at an early age that will carry them well into adulthood. If you have any other questions about your child’s dental health, he can be reached via his website.