60 percent of children affected by tooth decay by age five; it’s easy to believe that cavities are just a normal part of life. But tooth decay, especially in children, can be prevented by developing positive oral health behaviors from an early age. Here are three simple steps you can take to ensure your child enjoys a lifetime of good oral health:
1. Make dental visits a priority
While most parents would never miss their child’s medical appointments, dental visits are often delayed or skipped completely. Visit a pediatric dentist once every six months. Start at age one, or when teeth first begin to erupt. This will ensure any identified problems are quickly resolved.
2. Commit to regular home care
Daily brushing and flossing go a long way in preventing cavities in children. Brush for two minutes, twice per day, with a fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed. Floss at least once per day.
3. Make water your drink of choice
Sipping juice, soda or other sugary beverages throughout the day produces acid that can severely damage children’s teeth. Make water your child’s default beverage, limiting other drinks to mealtimes only. Never send a baby or toddler to bed with anything other than water in their bottle.
Cavities should be the exception to the rule, not the norm. Keeping your child’s teeth healthy can help them avoid painful cavities, dangerous infections, sleeplessness and an array of other serious health consequences. Taking a moment to evaluate your daily routines can make all the difference in ensuring your child has a happy, healthy smile.