Simply put, the are two only reasons children get cavities in their baby teeth:
1. Not brushing well enough or long enough
2. Eating and drinking too much sugar
Obviously, this topic is more complicated than this, though.In hopes of providing a simple blueprint, I would like to explain how best to take care of children’s teeth.
· Brush their teeth. For two minutes. Twice a day. Every day.
o First thing in the morning. Last thing at night. No excuses.
- A power toothbrush like Sonicare removes more cavity-causing plaque
- Bottles should never be left in a baby’s crib. This can cause large cavities on front teeth.
o Children are not usually coordinated enough to adequately brush all the surfaces of all their teeth until they are 7 or 8
- Let them pretend to brush, but follow up.Especially on their back teeth.
o Start brushing their teeth as soon as they erupt into the mouth
o Use fluoridated children’s toothpaste, no matter the age
- If they cannot spit out the toothpaste, only use an amount the size of a grain of rice or a “smear” on the bristles
· Limit their exposure to sugary foods and drinks.
o Cavity formation is more about the time exposure to sugar than the amount of sugar
o Nothing between meals with over 10g of sugar/serving
- These rules also apply if they’re at school, daycare, babysitter’s, nanny’s, grandparents’ or the ex-spouse’s house (send them a link to this article)
o If they have something sugary at meal time, just make sure they have water or a low sugar drink to wash it away
o Sugary drinks include sports drinks and juices,not just soda
- You can read more about this topic here: https://mooredentallewiscenter.com/articles/ask-a-dentist-are-sports-drinks-as-bad-as-soft-drinks
· That’s it! Although there are some other tips that can help
- Once a child is old enough to spit into the sink, have them rinse with a fluoridated kids’ mouth rinse twice per day
- Have a fluoride varnish applied at all dental and pediatrician appointments
- Avoid reverse osmosis bottled water, which contains no fluoride
- Once your child’s 6-year and 12-year permanent molars erupt, have sealants placed into the tiny grooves and pits of these teeth
- Sealants “seal out” food and plaque, reducing the risk of decay and are quick and comfortable to apply (no needles needed)
- All permanent teeth should be flossed once everyday
- The deeper, more sensitive cavities form between teeth and are the result of the combination of not flossing and exposure to sugary drinks and foods
o The right tools
- All of the products we recommend for taking care of our patients’ teeth can be found at https://www.amazon.com/shop/mooredentalatlewis
I am confident that if the advice in this article is strictly followed, you can avoid cavities in your children’s teeth. Of course,certain factors like genetic conditions and developmental irregularities can contribute to oral health issues as well. While regular dental cleanings and exams are vitally important in the prevention of any oral health issues, cavity prevention takes place during the other 363 days or so each year that children are not at the dentist.
Cheers to dental health,
Dr. Cliff Moore