Providing proper care and oral hygiene during preschool years can mean a lifetime of good oral health! Research shows that children who develop cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities as an adult. So how can a parent determine if their child is at risk for cavities? It all begins with that first trip to the dentist!
- The First Dental visit should include an exam to determine if the child is low, moderate or high risk for cavities. This will help determine which oral hygiene program best suits them.
- Brushing should begin when the first tooth erupts. Children should take over their own oral health care at the ages of 5 or 6, about the time they are able to tie their own shoelaces.
- Kids whose parents are prone to cavities and tooth decay need to be extra careful since there is a genetic predisposition for tooth decay.
- Children at high risk should be discouraged from eating starchy snacks and chips. Check teeth 20 minutes after consumption. If the teeth are still filled with food, discontinue that snack.
- Regular effort must be made to prevent decay before it begins. Controlling the exposure to cavity inducing foods through cleaning the teeth with brushing and flossing. Rinsing after snacks and using non-sugary liquids in their sippy cups will help too.
- Scheduling regular dental visits and limiting intake of sugary foods.
Essentially all children are at risk for cavities to some extent, so the same basic principles apply. Controlling exposure to cavity-inducing food and thorough cleaning of the teeth. Even if decay is a low risk for an individual child, they can still develop gingivitis or other problems if home care is inadequate.
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