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How to Prevent Dental Cavities in Children | Ontario Children's Dentist

You have a child, and you want him to take care of his teeth as much as possible because good dental hygiene can have an impact on your overall health. Preventing dental cavities is one way to help your child achieve optimal dental health.

Cavities occur when bacteria, saliva, food debris and acid form together to cling to the teeth and dissolve the enamel. As this happens, holes form in the teeth known as cavities. Tooth decay will have a negative impact on your child's health and require a dental appointment to repair. Listen to this advice for the best children's oral health practices.


How to Prevent Dental Cavities


Teach Your Child Proper Dental Hygiene

In general, you will want your child to brush his teeth a minimum of twice per day at two minutes each time. Brushing before bed becomes especially important because you want to disturb the formation of plaque. The bacteria feed on food particles like sugar, and they will release a byproduct that causes tooth decay. That byproduct is known as lactic acid, and the lactic acid will decrease the pH to the point where it dissolves the calcium phosphate of your tooth enamel. This process leads to cavities. Along with brushing your teeth twice per day, you should have your child floss at least once per day. Flossing stops your gums from bleeding, and it cleans the teeth of plaque where the toothbrush can't reach. 


Don't Eat Sugary Foods

Dental cavities in children especially come from eating sugary foods because of how these foods increase the bacteria in the mouth, and it causes the decay of tooth enamel. If you have a child who eats many starchy and sugary foods, you may want to switch it out for healthier choices. For example, fruits and vegetables will ultimately pay off in the long term. Whenever possible, you want your child to brush his teeth after each meal and after snacks as well. Good dental hygiene will pay off later in life. 


Don't Share Food and Drink

Many people don't realize how oral bacteria spreads through sharing food and drink. Teach your child not to share food and drinks because of how this can have a negative impact on his oral health as dangerous bacteria gets exchanged. It depends on where the bacteria comes from, and it will also depend on the health of the other person, but it isn't a good idea. 


Visit the Dentist Regularly

Dentists can catch and diagnose tooth decay before it manifests as cavities, which will pay off in the long term. On average, your child should visit the dentist twice per year. Some of the benefits that come from visiting an Ontario children's dentist include:

  • Prevents tooth decay
  • Stops plaque in its tracks
  • Saves money in the long run
  • Better looking smile

You want to continue this practice throughout your child's lifetime to ensure good dental hygiene. 


Ask the Dentist About Sealants

Dental sealants for your child will have many advantages. It will give your child years of protection from dental cavities, and it seals the space in between the teeth and stops the places from where the bacteria can start to grow. The best kids’ dentist will usually keep this on hand because of how it will protect children's teeth from getting bacteria buildup that can cause cavities. 

What exactly does a dental sealant do? This plastic coating gets put onto the premolars and molars to seal out the plaque in the most vulnerable areas to protect your child's teeth from plaque and food. 


Drink A lot of Water

Not everyone realizes what an effective role drinking water can have on teeth. You want your child to drink plenty of water each day, and you want him to drink this throughout his day to stay hydrated and protect his teeth. Water flushes away the bacteria, and it posts the stop sign up against acid buildup. Fluoride in water has also proven effective in adding an extra layer of protection for your teeth. With fluoride, you can help to reinforce your teeth. You can find this substance naturally in rocks, water and salt. 

How does fluoride prevent cavities? Tooth enamel covers the outer part of your teeth, and it's tougher than bone, made from phosphate and calcium. When your saliva has fluoride, your teeth will take this in. This adds to your tooth defense system, and it will prove much stronger against decay.


Beware of Sticky Foods for Your Child

You have a few key problems when your child eats sticky foods like caramel, honey and taffy. First, you can't remove it from the teeth as easily as what you might like. Over time, this can contribute to further acid buildup that will eat away at your tooth enamel. These foods can damage your child's teeth because they will stay on the teeth for longer. If you eat these foods, you may want to develop a routine where you rinse with water and brush and floss carefully. 


The Benefits of Cheese and Nuts

To help your child's dental health, you may want to add cheese and nuts to his diet. These foods have been shown to fight back against acid buildup, and at the same time, it gives your teeth essential minerals that keep them strong. In addition, it will stimulate the saliva in your mouth to clean the teeth.

These are some of the ways to prevent dental cavities in children. You want to encourage your child to have good dental hygiene practice from an early age because this will help him throughout his lifetime. You don't have to do anything too complicated to keep your child from cavities. Instead, you simply have to set him up with a routine so that his teeth remain healthy. Getting started at an early age can make a huge difference for your child's health. Along with that, don't forget regular checkups at the dentist.