Updated: Apr 10
Nothing is cuter than the toothy smile of a child, but that precious smile can be turned upside-down by cavities. Allow us to help you prevent them before they take over.
Cavities in children can be caused by a lot of things. You might feel partly responsible for not getting your child to brush or floss their teeth properly, and although it is to a certain extent true, cavities can be caused by a lot of things. They include:
While the lollipops that they love so much have a role to play in tooth decay, they aren’t the only culprits. Basically, anything your child eats can lead to tooth decay. Children who graze frequently are more prone to tooth decay than kids who don’t.
Juices, sports drinks, soft drinks and even milk can result in cavities. Frequent consumption of these can lead to your child’s teeth being coated in these drinks, resulting in acid-producing bacteria settling down in the grooves and pits of your child’s teeth, leading to cavities.
Some illnesses can increase the risk of cavities. For example, if your little one suffers from chronic allergies, they may resort to mouth breathing, which reduces saliva flow and increases cavities.
Preventing Tooth Decay In Children
The prevention method begins from infancy. If you want your angel to be cavity-free, you have to start from the beginning.
Take a wet gauze and wipe your child’s gums after each feed.
Your child should have their first dental checkup no later than their first birthday.
When the first tooth appears, use a smear of ‘unfluoridated’ toothpaste and an age-appropriate soft-bristled brush to brush those pearly whites.
Don’t give your child a bottle filled with fruit juice, formula, breast milk or sugar water to suck on while their falling asleep.
Don’t let your toddler have a bottle or sippy cup with juice or milk as they fall asleep.
Encourage your child to drink the milk and juice from a cup rather than sipping it slowly, as it will reduce the exposure of their teeth to decay-causing sugars present in the milk and juice.
Brush your child’s teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste twice a day.
Now is also a good time to teach your child the importance of flossing.
Avoid giving your child sugary foods and fruits that have high acid content.
Don’t use fluoridated toothpaste until your toddler is two years old and teach them to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallow it.
Spend time with your child and teach them the importance of protecting their teeth. The best way to do this is by being a role model and maintaining your own good oral hygiene and eating habits.
By Thina Mthembu. Image: Depositphotos.