Dental caries is one of the oldest and most common diseases found in humans. While there have been continuous efforts to reduce how common it is, it is still widespread especially in children. Can you give us some insight as to how to manage a child’s risk for developing cavities?
We encourage kids to brush their teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste twice daily, most importantly at night before bed. Flossing should be done daily especially if children have tight or crowded teeth. All of this should take place with the help or assistance from a parent until a child is at least 8-9 years of age, or with some children longer. This will also help establish a routine within the family so it becomes second nature. We also recommend seeing a dentist every 6 months (in some children every 3 months if they are high risk for developing cavities) so we can evaluate the need for x-rays, fluoride, and sealants.
What can you recommend for busy families so that they are making good dietary choices on a daily basis?
The Diet is one of the biggest factors that lead to cavities. First, babies should not be put to bed with a bottle. Anything other than water that is sipped on throughout the day or night, will cause cavities. Juice and chocolate milk should be minimized or avoided. Avoid sipping all day on soda and high energy sports drinks. Not only do they have sugar, but they contain acids that erode the teeth and cause cavities. Limit treats such as candy, fruit snacks and any sticky foods, because they also contain acids and stick to the teeth.