Dental professionals agree that children should be taught about oral hygiene, which includes proper at-home care and regular dental visits, at an early age so they can develop good habits that will contribute to their dental and overall health for the rest of their life. There are many ways to keep cavities away depending on your age as follows:
1. Tips For Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
● Clean the baby’s gums after each feeding using a clean wet washcloth or gauze pad
● When your baby’s teeth begin to appear, start brushing them using a child-size toothbrush and plain water. Only use toothbrushes that display the ADA Seal of Acceptance, since they have been approved by the ADA for safety and effectiveness.
● Take your child to the dentist before the age of 1 year for tips on proper dental care for your child.
● Depending on the state of your child’s teeth, the dentist may recommend that you use fluoridated toothpaste before your child is 2 years old. Otherwise, start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste at the age of 2 years. Continue until the age of 6-7 years.
● When your child grows at least two adjacent teeth, you can start flossing.
● Supervise children when brushing to prevent them from swallowing the paste
2. School-age Children and Adolescents
● Continue to assist your child with brushing and flossing as needed. Remember to use only the dental products that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
● Children should brush their teeth twice a day with supervision until the age of 10 – 11 years. Regular dental checkups will help you know whether your child is brushing their teeth properly.
● Consider using dental sealants on the chewing surfaces of back teeth to prevent food debris and bacteria from building up and causing cavities.
3. General Tips
● Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and change it every 3 months
● It is important to floss at least once a day and brush twice a day
● Avoid frequent snacking, especially on sugary items, including dried fruits, as they create a cavity-inducing oral environment.
● Drink plenty of water to wash food debris from your mouth
● Maintain a healthy and balanced diet. This includes consuming fresh, water-dense fruits to keep the mouth hydrated; eating nuts and cheeses to help re-mineralize your teeth; and limiting the intake of sugary and sticky foods like cookies, candies, and fruit leathers.
Lastly, it is important that you maintain regular dental checkups, usually at six month intervals. These dental visits usually include professional cleaning and inspection of your mouth for looming dangers so you can start early intervention before they become worse.