The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports 42% of kids ages 2 to 11 have had dental caries (cavities) in their primary teeth. That’s a lot!
It can be said that childhood cavities are common, but the good thing is, they’re preventable!
How can you make sure your child has a healthy smile? This article will outline how you can take care of your child’s teeth at different ages.
What are Primary Teeth?
A child’s mouth is a little different from an adult’s. From birth, the first set of teeth we develop are called primary teeth, also known as “baby teeth”.
They are all covered with enamel or a thin outer protective covering like ours. The difference is their tooth enamel is significantly thinner, which makes them more susceptible to dental decay.
The primary teeth will fall out at different ages before the permanent teeth or “adult teeth” erupt.
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, they can be at risk of decay. Before teeth develop, you can begin to clean your baby’s mouth and gums with a clean washcloth or wet gauze.
A teething baby can have a lot of discomforts when the teeth first start to grow through the gums. Pediatric dentists suggest using a clean hand, wet gauze, or a cool teething ring to soothe their gums. If they develop a fever, call your family doctor immediately.
When teeth develop, you can start to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child brush designed for babies. Use a very tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste and drinking water to brush.
Avoid the habit of putting them asleep with a sippy cup that contains sweetened drinks. That sugar can sit on the teeth and cause decay! Before their first birthday is a great time for their first dental visit. Dentists can give you detailed oral health instructions and check for any decay that you may not be aware of.
At this age, it’s important to teach them good oral health habits. Getting them in the habit of brushing twice a day can prevent tooth decay.
Make sure they just use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure they don’t swallow it. You will need to assist them in brushing and flossing until you’re confident in your child’s ability to brush their teeth well on their own.
Make it fun for them! One option to do this is by having their very own toothbrush. Teach them what to expect from the dentist and schedule regular checkups.
Another great way to prevent cavities is to start incorporating healthy foods into their diet. If they frequently have sugary foods and sweet snacks without brushing, they have a high risk of cavities or even gum disease.
Enough fluoride is also very good because it can prevent tooth decay. You can ensure they have enough by using fluoride supplements, fluoride varnish, and drinking tap water with added fluoride. Just be sure to ask your dentist, as too much fluoride can be dangerous.
Visiting the Dentist
Pediatric dentistry handles most kids’ dental care. Your child’s dentist may notice they may have moderate to severe cavities or baby teeth might need help to erupt.
This is where our oral surgeons here at Rotary Way Oral Surgery in Vallejo, CA, come in to help. They are thoroughly trained in child’s dental health and well fit to handle any extensive surgical extractions your child may need. We are more than happy to see what treatment your child needs, book an appointment here.