Dental caries is the most common illness among children.
Over 4 million preschoolers suffer from tooth decay. Many doctors blame the increasing amount of sugar in kids’ diets. “bacteria feed on sugar and produce acid that eats away at the structure of teeth by depleting calcium,” explains Burton Edelstein, D.D.S., founding director of the Children’s Dental Health Project. The bacteria, also known as plaque, start to build up on teeth which contain an acid that eats away at the enamel of the tooth until a cavity is formed.
• Clean your baby’s gums even before her first teeth erupt. Wipe them with a damp washcloth after feedings.
• Start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears.Wet a baby toothbrush and gently rub it back and forth on the surface of the tooth and along the gum line. If you use toothpaste, make sure it’s fluoride-free.
• Brush your child’s teeth for at least 30 seconds (ideally a minute) after breakfast and before bed. Lean her head on your lap and place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth.
• Start using a tiny amount of fluoride oothpaste when she’s 2 or 3 years old. Begin flossing teeth for him when two of his teeth are touching.
• Brush your own teeth at the same ime as your child brushes, and give him lots of positive feedback.
• Studies have found that manual toothbrushes are just as effective as powered ones. But if letting your kid use an electric or battery-operated one makes it easier to get her to brush, go for it.
• Your child can start brushing and flossing on her own at around age 7. If she can tie her own shoes, chances are she’s ready to brush solo. She should now brush for two minutes.
• Look for food and plaque around the gum line of her teeth to see whether she’s doing a sufficient job. You can also let her chew gum with Xylitol.
As a parent it’s your responsibility to take charge of your child’s dental health.
Diligently brush and floss, make sure they get the correct amount of fluoride and visit a pediatric dentist regularly are the first steps to success.