The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that tooth decay is the number one childhood disease. According to the same study, cavities are 20 times more common than diabetes, 5 times more common than asthma and 4 times more common than obesity.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Children are prone to cavities because they tend to consume sugary foods and drinks (milk, juice, soda, sweets) frequently. Naturally-occurring bacteria in the mouth eat leftover sugar and produce acids in the process. Acid then attacks the enamel and causes tooth decay.

Prolonged and repetitive use of the bottle or sippy cup to feed your child sweetened liquids is another cause of tooth decay. It’s not only what you put in the bottle, but also how long and how frequently sweets are in contact with your child’s teeth. If your child is used to sleeping with a bottle, never put anything but plain water in it.

Early Prevention

To prevent cavities, parents are encouraged to teach their children proper oral hygiene as early as possible. Even before milk teeth erupt, clean your baby’s mouth with a soft damp cloth after every feeding. Many dentists recommend that parents brush together with their children so their kids can see how it’s done.

The same goes with flossing—begin flossing as soon as teeth touch each other. Flossing is even harder to learn than brushing, so be patient. You can use oral irrigators if dental floss is too hard to handle. Ultimately, the key is to make the routine fun so your kids look forward to it.

Start Them Young

Preventing the development of cavities through good oral hygiene and proper diet will spare your kids teeth from the dentist’s drill. For more oral care tips, visit your Kennewick dentist today. Call us at 509-591-0515 or use our online form to make an appointment.

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