Did you know? One in five kids ages 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. The good news is that decay is preventable! Below are five ways to prevent early childhood cavities.
- Don’t put your baby or child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup.
Milk, juice, formula, and even breastmilk contain sugar. As your baby sleeps, the sugar sits on his or her teeth and can cause decay. If your baby must have a bottle to go to sleep, fill it with water.
- Decrease your child’s sugar consumption.
Sugar causes cavities, it’s as simple as that! If your child likes sugary drinks, substitute them for a sugar-free drink or dilute them with water to decrease risk of decay.
- Encourage healthy eating habits.
Mealtimes do not have be confined to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Smaller, healthier snacks eaten throughout the day play a role in providing energy and nourishment.
- Supervise brushing until your child can be counted on to spit and not swallow toothpaste—usually not before he or she is 6 or 7.
Fluoride helps strengthen your child’s teeth, but is not to be swallowed. If your child is too young to spit on his or her own, use a non-fluoride toothpaste.
- See your pediatric dentist regularly for check-ups.
You should schedule your child’s first dental appointment by age one. Make sure to make appointments for a routine checkup every six months.
These 5 simple steps will help keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity-free, setting the foundation for a lifetime of oral health.