What’s a chronic disease that affects most kids? It’s not short-term memory loss, but tooth decay.
According to recent reports, just over 40% of kids will have tooth decay by the time they enter kindergarten. For kids between 6 to 11, over 21% will have a cavity on a permanent tooth.
Fighting tooth decay is a tough, full-time job for kids, and their parents. Fortunately with a little effort, education and mindfulness, tooth decay can be prevented.
Here are 6 ways to help your kids stay free of cavities:
- Try Sealants – What are they? They’re a thin coating painted onto the chewing surface of a tooth to help fill in any pits, such as in the back teeth (the molars). Molars are more susceptible to tooth decay, as food particles get trapped within the tooth’s grooves. Kids between the ages of 6 to 11 are 3 times more likely to get molar cavities compared to kids with sealants.
- Be aware of foods that cause cavities – Try to limit the consumption of foods that can promote tooth decay. These culprits include sugary foods, including granola bars to cereals. Starchy foods, like French fries or crackers, can leave sugar converting particles on the teeth. And acidic foods and drinks such as citrus juices or tomatoes, which can wear away the enamel of teeth.
- Incorporate Foods that Help Prevent Cavities – While there are plenty of foods that can promote cavities, many foods can also help prevent tooth decay. Some foods can neutralize the acids that cause tooth decay, such as apples and yogurt. Crunchy vegetables and fruits with a high water content, like apples, celery and cucumbers, can help flush away sugars that accumulate within the mouth. And foods that are rich in calcium and phosphates,like milk nuts and pumpkin seeds, help strengthen the tooth’s enamel.
- Fluoride Treatments – Fluoride is a mineral that helps keep the tooth’s enamel strong and better resistant to acids that form in the mouth, due to plaque and sugars, that can eventually lead to cavities. While kids can receive fluoride via various foods, such as meats or dairy, or even from water or toothpastes, a little extra fluoride works wonders especially for developing teeth. Fluoride treatments for kids keeps their teeth strong and gives them a better chance to fight off cavities. At Beffa Dental, all children under the age of 18 receive a topical fluoride treatment with each teeth cleaning.
- Brush + Floss Regularly twice a day – The combination of brushing and flossing will work wonders to keep teeth clean and free of debris that promote tooth decay. And brushing works best when it’s done correctly – 2 minutes, with a soft brush, brushing at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line, using short, circular strokes.
- Schedule Regular Dental Visits – Routine dental exams and teeth cleanings are essential to preventative dental care. Staying on top of these visits, twice a year, will promote healthy teeth and gums, as well as help prevent more serious, and costly, dental treatments, like fillings. If your child is overdue for a dental exam and cleaning, please call us at (206) 242-0066 to schedule an appointment or schedule online.
Keeping your kids teeth cavity free and free of tooth decay is not easy. And that’s why it takes a team effort between you, your kids, and your friendly neighborhood Burien dentist. Whether it’s a little education or preventative dental care, you can rely on us as your family’s go-to “tooth decay fighter”!