Top cavity culprits for kids – and ways to avoid them

Top cavity culprits for kids – and ways to avoid them

Mar 01, 2016

It’s no secret that children naturally have a crazy sweet tooth. From a young age, children are attracted to juice, candy, and anything with a high sugar content.

Unfortunately, all this sugar is causing a tooth decay epidemic in children. Dentists are seeing an increasing number of very young children – many even younger than age 3 – who need invasive dental surgery due to decay. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so it’s the perfect time to cover how we can help children get a healthy smile – and keep it that way for life.

Cavity Culprit: Sugary Drinks

Soda, juice, and sports drinks are a major cause of tooth decay in children. Sipping these drinks coats the entire mouth in sugar, and many kids drink these beverages throughout the day.

Better choice: Water, milk, and fruit water

Water is the best hydration for kids, but milk is also needed due to its calcium and vitamin D content. Be sure your child is getting three glasses of milk each day. If your children don’t like plain water, add some fresh or frozen berries, lemon, and herbs like mint leaves for a tasty twist without a lot of sugar.

Cavity Culprit: Bottles in Bed

Allowing your toddler to fall asleep with a bottle can lead to dental problems, even if the bottle contains milk. The natural sugars will sit on the child’s teeth at night, which is a prime time for decay to start.

Better choice: Switch Your Routine

Feed your child the last milk bottle before bed and brush his teeth afterward. If he is attached to a bedtime bottle, put water in it instead.

Cavity Culprit: Gummies and Dried Fruits

Chewy foods have a texture that loves to cling to teeth and push sugar into the tiny crevices. Even healthier options like dried fruits cause this problem. Gummy candies or gummy vitamins are a big part of this issue, as fruit snacks and chewy vitamins are consumed by kids every day.

Better choice: Fresh Fruits and Sugar-Free Vitamins

Fresh fruits are better than dried, and can be just as tasty. For a dessert, try a dash of whipped cream or frozen yogurt on top of berries. Look for sugar-free or xylitol-sweetened vitamins instead of the sugary gummy varieties.

Begin Good Habits Early

It’s never too early to start cleaning your child’s teeth. Use a damp washcloth to clean an infant’s teeth and gums. Toddlers can use a child’s toothbrush and water with your help. Your child can begin using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste (with supervision) at age 3, and they should be brushing twice a day.

The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist within six months of the eruption of your child’s first tooth, or no later than age 1. Those baby teeth are important placeholders for your child’s permanent teeth, so start caring for them early!

Dr. Armstrong offers complete dental care for all the members of your family, including the littlest ones. Contact us at our Houston-Westchase office today to schedule your child’s dental visit. It could be one of the best things you do for your child’s smile!

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