Keep Your Kids Cavity Free

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Last Updated: September 4, 2019

Alpharetta, GA Dental caries are the number one chronic childhood disease. That means that cavities affect more children than anything else, including asthma. But many cavities are preventable. Dr. Nanna Ariaban, an Alpharetta pediatric dentist, offers several tips for parents to follow to help their children stay cavity free.

  1. 1- Start good dental habits early. This means caring for your child’s dental health even before their teeth begin to appear. Wipe your child’s gums with a wet cloth to protect the emerging teeth. Never let your child go to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup. Be sure to schedule the first dental appointment after the first tooth appears, but no later than the age of 1. Model good dental habits. Our children learn from us, and when they see their parents making their oral care a priority, they will want to model that. Brush and floss daily, and talk about the importance of caring for your teeth.
  2. 2- Help your young children brush and floss. Flossing should start as soon as your child has two teeth that touch each other. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you can use a smear or rice grain amount of fluoride toothpaste for children under the age of three. For children between the ages of 3 and 6, use a pea sized amount. Read this post to learn more about brushing your child’s teeth.
  3. 3- Limit the number of sweets, juices, sticky and starchy foods your children eat. Foods like fruit snacks and taffy stick to the teeth, and can cause damage long after the child has stopped eating it. But candy isn’t the only thing to worry about – starchy foods, like potato chips and crackers can get stuck in the nooks and crannies of teeth. They then can provide the sugar that the bacteria that lives in our mouths thrives off of. Limit these foods, and brush after eating them. Limit sugary drinks to only at mealtime, when there is plenty of saliva to wash away the sugars. Offer water as a drink during the day.
  4. 4- Focus on snacks that are good for the teeth. Apples, carrots and celery can increase saliva production, helping to wash away the harmful bacteria that lives in our mouth. Cheese can provide protection against cavities. If you’d like a list of foods that are ideal snacking options for your child, Dr. Nanna created a local Johns Creek grocery shopping guide to help families shop. (An Alpharetta shopping guide will be coming soon!)
  5. 5- Ask your dentist about sealants. Sealants are an effective method of preventing cavities. They are a thin, plastic coating that a dentist paints onto the chewing surfaces of teeth, preventing food from getting caught in the nooks and crannies.
  6. 6- Don’t share toothbrushes or utensils. As parents, we often share forks or spoons with our children, but this can introduce the bacteria that lives in our mouths to theirs.

Added Note on Water as a Beverage: If your reading this from Fulton County there is even more incentive for drinking water. When putting together our pediatric dental community guide for Johns Creek, we found that Fulton County published a report saying the the fluoride levels of the water ranges around 0.7 ppm. This falls right along the United States Public Health Services and American Dental Associations recommended levels of 0.7 ppm in Fluoride!

We know that life can get busy, and sometimes things like brushing and flossing can fall on the backburner. But, more than 16 million children in the United States have untreated tooth decay. And many studies show that oral health has a direct effect not only on our overall health, but on how students perform in school. In fact, a 2012 study in the American Journal of Public Health reported that students who suffered from toothaches were four times more likely to have a lower grade point average than their peers.

“The good news is that as the parent, you can help prevent dental caries from forming,” says Dr. Nanna Ariaban. “With a little dedication, you can make oral care a priority in your household, and ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth.”

© 2018 Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, an Alpharetta dentist, is credited as sole source.