Contagious Cavities

Do bad teeth run in the family? In a way, they can. You not only inherit dental anatomy, but you can spread oral bacteria to your loved ones. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar, using it to grow and produce acids that erode teeth. Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, and you could unintentionally aid it by spreading oral bacteria to your child when you share food, utensils, straws, and water glasses. In order to prevent cavities from developing in your child’s mouth, follow these healthy dental tips from our doctors.

Children Learn By Example

Your children learn behaviors and habits by studying what you do, so it is important that you show them how essential brushing and flossing are. Teeth need to be brushed gently for two minutes time twice a day and flossed at least once a day. Brush and floss with your child so they will learn how to do it. Remember that children won’t have the coordination to brush and floss on their own until they are 6 or 7, so have patience. If it is easier, you may want to have your child try flossing sticks if they struggle with string floss.

An Ounce Of Fluoride Is Worth A Pound Of Fillings

Fluoride is an amazing mineral that strengthens teeth, rebuilds enamel, and even prevents plaque bacteria from sticking to teeth. Using fluoride early in your child’s life is imperative for their developing teeth. An infant’s mouth should be cleaned by smoothing a clean, damp cloth over their gums. When your child begins teething, start to clean their teeth with an infant toothbrush and just a smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. When they are between 2 and 6 years old, increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to the size of a pea. Also be sure to teach your children to spit out toothpaste because swallowing it can make them ill.

Check-Up On Dental Health With The Dentist

The protective enamel that surrounds teeth is still developing for toddlers between 15 and 18 months of age, so cavities can often appear at this time. This is why it is important to take your child to the dentist for a cleaning and exam twice a year. Your dentist can help prevent the development of cavities in your child’s mouth with the use of fluoride treatments and dental sealants. Also remember that children learn by example, so don’t forget your own biannual check-ups with the dentist.

Keep Your Teeth Watered

Water is the best drink for your teeth because it washes away food, does not contain sugar, and provides your mouth with fluoride that remineralizes tooth enamel. Sodas and fruit juices, in contrast, are full of artificial and natural sugars and acids that decay teeth. Your child can develop baby bottle tooth decay if they receive a bottle filled with fruit juice, especially if they fall asleep with it. Baby bottles should only be filled with milk or formula. When your child is old enough, you can begin giving them water as well.

You Are What You Eat

When you and your family keep a healthy diet, you are preventing tooth decay because plaque bacteria have fewer sugars to work with. Make sure that your family eats a balanced diet, including plenty of raw and cooked vegetables. You may also want to consider taking a multivitamin for well-rounded nutrition.