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How to Prevent Cavities in Children

Cavities are the most common disease in children and can be painful. Untreated cavities can lead to problems speaking and eating. Cavities can also cause problems for when adult teeth grow in. Watch for early signs of tooth decay such as the development of white or brown spots on the teeth. Take your child to a dentist once you suspect a problem. Below are some steps to ensure your child has healthy teeth.


Use a Cup by Age One

Wean your child from using a bottle by the age of one years old. At the age of one they should be using an open cup or cup with a hard top instead of a bottle. Using a cup instead of a bottle limits the amount of sugar that builds up on the teeth. Excess sugars on the teeth can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Do not give your child a bottle with milk or juice at night; instead, offer water in a bottle or try other soothing techniques to help your child fall asleep.


Limit Consumption of Sugars

Avoid foods and drinks with added sugars. Offer water, milk, and 100% fruit juice. Limit the amount of fruit juice consumed daily to 4oz and dilute it with water. Offer water to drink between meals and offer milk or juice only during mealtime. Be sure to brush children’s teeth after meals.


Demonstrate Proper Oral Hygiene

By the age of one or at the sight of their first tooth, a child should have their first dental appointment. Before your child’s teeth come in, rub their gums with your finger and a cloth to clean their gums after feeding. Once your child has teeth, brush them twice a day and floss at least once per day. Children only require a small amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing their teeth, about the size of a grain of rice if under three years old and the size of a pea if over three years old. Ensure your child spits out the toothpaste and does not swallow. Floss picks with a handle can be easier for children learning how to floss.


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