Tooth decay occurs as a result of interactions between the bacteria inside your mouth and the food you eat. Over time, these interactions may result in the destruction of your teeth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay impacts more children in the United States than any other chronic infectious disease. Fortunately, this oral disease is preventable, which is why teaching kids to be healthy through good oral hygiene practices is absolutely essential.
Follow a Balanced Diet
Following a balanced diet is one of the first things parents can do to protect their child's teeth from tooth decay. The foods that your child consumes will determine how at risk he is for developing this condition. Nutritious meals that strike a healthy balance between all the major food groups are always best. When possible, keep sugary drinks and treats to a minimum. This will go a long way in teaching kids to be healthy.
Brush and Floss
Brushing and flossing are two of the most effective ways to keep your child's teeth clean. Teach your child the importance of not only cleaning his teeth in the morning, but also after each meal and before bedtime. To learn more about proper brushing and flossing techniques, visit the Colgate Oral Care resources.
Protect with Fluoride
The type of toothpaste your child uses also plays an important role in protecting him from tooth decay. It is important to select a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride provides an extra layer of protection on children's teeth. It is also a good idea to find out if your local water contains fluoride. If not, consider asking your dentist about other ways your child can receive the benefit of fluoride or consult with your pediatrician for a prescription for a fluoride supplement.
Visit the Dentist
Although following good oral hygiene practices at home with your child is important, visiting the dentist is absolutely essential. Most dental professionals recommend that a child have his first visit to the dentist around his first birthday. At each appointment, the dentist will examine your child's teeth and make any recommendations on his future dental needs. A dental professional is the only person that can determine the overall health of your child's teeth.