By Vishant Nath DMD, Pediatric Dentist
The last thing that a parent wants to hear at the dentist is that their child has one or more cavities. Parents want the best for their children, and no one wants to see their child have to undergo dental treatment. The good news is that tooth decay is largely preventable. This article will provide some information on how to go about keeping your child’s teeth healthy.
There are some obvious ways to prevent tooth decay. Certainly maintaining effective, consistent daily hygiene is a great place to start. This includes brushing your child’s teeth a minimum of twice per day, both right before bedtime and in the morning. You can decide how involved you need to be in this process, depending on your child’s age and capabilities. Obviously for very young children, it’s important to be very involved. Flossing is also a great habit to start in children. Flossing should begin as soon as your child’s tooth surfaces begin to touch (i.e. when the teeth begin to become close together).
The other important part of maintaining good oral hygiene for your child is through dental visits. These should occur every six months. The dentist will perform an exam, clean your child’s teeth and take x-rays. The x-rays are an invaluable tool in diagnosing tooth decay. Some cavities are large enough to be seen by the dentist during the exam. However most can be detected using x-rays while they are still quite small. The earlier a cavity is detected, the better.
In general, children require more frequent x-rays than adults. This is because children are much more susceptible to tooth decay. The enamel on baby teeth is much thinner than the enamel on adult teeth, which causes decay to start a lot faster on baby teeth. Also, children’s mouths change much more rapidly than adults. If a child has had cavities in the past, they may require x-rays more frequently than a child who has never had cavities. X-rays are especially important for diagnosing cavities that occur between teeth.
During your child’s dental visit, the dentist may also apply a fluoride treatment to your child’s teeth. At home fluoride rinses are also an effective way to strengthen your child’s teeth and help to fight cavity formation.
The proper blend of daily hygiene and twice-yearly dental visits are a great way to fight tooth decay for your child. Follow up with your dentist if you have any questions regarding preventing tooth decay in your child.