Not every child develops cavities. What is the secret to healthy kids' teeth? What are those super parents doing to protect their children from tooth decay? There is no mystery to good oral care for kids. Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits are the key to ensuring a healthy smile. Aside from committing to the basics, there are a few facts about caring for developing teeth that can turn any mom or dad into a super parent.
First Birthday, First Dentist Visit
In the United States, more than one-quarter of young children have a cavity by the age of 4. One way to help prevent early childhood cavities is to start those bi-annual dental check-ups early. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a visit with a pediatric dentist by one year of age. An early visit with a professional is crucial for finding out if your child is at risk for cavities. You can also learn a few invaluable oral care tips, such as how to brush your child's teeth properly and what is the right amount of fluoride for your little one.
Fluoride Protects Kids' Teeth from the Inside
Fluoride is essential for cavity protection because it hardens tooth enamel and it remineralizes teeth, reversing the natural breakdown process caused by acid. Once your dentist recommends a fluoride toothpaste, usually around age 2, you can start brushing your child's teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that contains this cavity-fighting mineral. The use of topical fluoride (from toothpaste, mouth rinses and professional in-office treatments) is only one way to prevent tooth decay with this mineral. Swallowed fluoride can also help to strengthen teeth in children up to the age of 16. It enters the bloodstream where it can be used by developing teeth. Drinking water is fluoridated in some communities to help support good oral health. If your drinking water isn't fluoridated, then your dentist may recommend supplements for your child.
Having Healthy Kids' Teeth Encourages Healthy Adult Teeth
Baby teeth start to fall out around the age of 6 or 7 and are then replaced by the permanent teeth. Even though your child will lose all of their primary teeth, it is still important to take good care of the first set of teeth. Untreated tooth decay in baby teeth can affect the adult teeth that are still under the gumline.
You can ensure that your kid's teeth are healthy and cavity-free into adulthood. Start early with good daily oral hygiene habits and dental visits. Ask your dentist about optimal fluoride use. Your child will be grateful that they have a super parent to protect their smile.