Date: 24th Nov.,2016
Cavities, also known as a dental caries, is a result of tooth decay. Dental caries is prevalent among children right from infancy to adolescence. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, as of 2012, 60-90% school children over the world have dental caries.
Everyone hates cavities – they are painful, uncomfortable, and expensive to treat. Surprisingly, they are also easy to avoid. As a parent, it is important that you instill the importance of dental care in your children to prevent dental caries and other oral ailments.
What Causes Dental Caries?
The leading cause of caries is poor oral hygiene. Kids don’t like to brush their teeth and many even avoid the mandatory twice-a-day routine. Brushing and flossing are keys to good dental hygiene. By skipping on either one, your child is inviting tooth decay.
Another cause for tooth decay in children is consumption of sugary foods. Candies, chocolates, soft drinks, sweets, etc. contain a high level of sugar. Mouth bacteria thrive on sugar and produce acid which erodes tooth’s enamel and dentin.
How can I Prevent Dental Caries in My Child’s Teeth?
- Maintain a Dental Hygiene Routine
Half the battle against dental caries is won if you can help your child maintain a dental routine. Ideally, teeth should be brushed after every meal. But, brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and flossing at least once a day is a must.
To encourage your little ones to brush regularly, you can make brushing fun by using character-based toothbrushes like Kids Dyny Toothbrush. Toothpaste for adults have relatively higher fluoride levels than what a young child needs. Hence, it is advisable to use toothpaste made especially for children – low on fluoride content and high on flavour. Kids Bunny toothpaste is especially designed for children and has lower fluoride content along with a tasty strawberry mint flavour, which will make your child look forward to brushing twice a day.
Children under the age of 8 need help in brushing their teeth. Make sure you supervise them or brush their teeth yourself.
- Regular Dental Checkup
Most of us don’t visit the dentist unless something is wrong with our teeth or gums. However, it is recommended to take your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts. Bi-annual dental visits are necessary for children and adults alike for cleaning and examination.
When you make regular appointments, a dentist can,
– Get rid of dental plaque
– Examine your teeth for signs of decay
– Teach your child how to properly clean their teeth
– Apply protective or regenerative agents like fluoride-enriched gel or varnish, if indicated and advised by Dentist.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
As a parent, you should keep a check on what and when your child is eating. Food that contain sugar or starch contribute to acid production in their mouth, which is detrimental to the tooth’s enamel. Foods like candies and other confectioneries, sodas, cookies, etc. should only be consumed occasionally for limited exposure. Make sure your child doesn’t snack frequently as this, too, increases the acid attack on their teeth.
Furthermore, saliva helps in fighting acid attacks. Since saliva flow is low while sleeping, avoid eating or drinking after bedtime brushing at all costs.
Also, ensure that you don’t give your infant a bottle of milk, formula, or juice in their crib. This practice may lead to your baby sleeping with the bottle in their mouth. As a result, their teeth are soaked in sugary substances all night, causing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (infant caries).
- Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride is a mineral present in the teeth’s enamel. Teeth lose fluoride when mouth bacteria release acids. Remineralisation and demineralization processes constantly occur in your mouth. If the rate of demineralization is higher than the rate of remineralization, then your teeth decay.
The primary source of fluoride is tap water and fluoride toothpaste for most of us. However, if your child is at moderate-to-high risk of developing dental caries, additional fluoride intake may be required.
Professional fluoride treatments, that use a solution, gel, foam, or varnish can help increase the fluoride content in your child’s teeth. Fluoritop SR Varnish is a professional-grade fluoride treatment varnish that strengthens the enamel layer and makes the teeth more resistant to acid attacks.
Since there are predefined steps and guidelines to apply this varnish, it is advisable to consult a dentist and not apply the varnish yourself. The application procedure is completely painless and if your dentist thinks it is required, he or she can complete the procedure within a matter of minutes.
- Consider Dental Sealants
You can prevent caries in children by asking your dentists to use dental sealants on your child’s teeth. These are thin plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars. Since molars are rough, food can easily get stuck in them. Moreover, they are much more difficult to clean with toothbrushes. A dental sealant covers this uneven surface and prevents decay in your child’s back teeth. It is recommended to get sealants as soon as molars start emerging.
Dental caries is not just harmful to your child’s perfect smile but can also be very painful. Taking care of your child’s diet, regular brushing and flossing, dental sealants and regular dental checkups can go a long way in preventing dental caries and will preserve their pearly whites for years to come.
- Oral Health, www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs318/en/
- Fluoride treatments in the dental office Extra protection for your teeth, , http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Member%20Center/FIles/patient_72.ashx
- Dental Caries Scenario Among 5, 12 and 15-Year-old Children in India- A Retrospective Analysis, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4573062/
- A Healthy mouth for your baby, http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/ToothDecay/AHealthyMouthforYourBaby.htm