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Did you know that cavities are present in about 20% of U.S. children aged 5 to 11 years old? And additionally, 13% of youth aged 12-19 have already had at least one untreated cavity? But there is good news: cavities are nearly 100% preventable.

Parent tips to prevent cavities

Take your child to a pediatric dentist for regular exams and cleanings

Pediatric dentists have had 2-3 years of special training to care for young children and adolescents. The American Academy for Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that every child have an exam and cleaning by age one. Routine checkups every six months are necessary to stay on top of your child’s oral health.

Be a role model for good oral care

Visit the dentist two times per year and brush and floss regularly. Teach children how to follow your example with their own good oral care. Remind them to brush and floss each morning and night and after lunch or sugary treats if possible. Parents should brush toddlers’ teeth and supervise the brushing for children until they are older than 6 years old.

Understand that food and drinks can affect the teeth

Sugars that stay too long on the teeth can create cavities. Candy treats and starches like crackers and chips are likely to cause tooth decay when not properly brushed away. Water is best for your child’s teeth and body. Sports drinks, sodas, and sugary juices can cling to teeth and cause decay. When your child consumes starchy /sugary foods or sweet drinks, encourage brushing afterwards. Try to limit snack times so the child is not always eating throughout the day.

Ask about fluoride

Children around age three and up should use fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities, as long as they are able to avoid swallowing it. Always seek out American Dental Association (ADA) approved toothpaste based on your child’s age. Talk to the child’s dentist about toothpaste selection and if an in-office fluoride treatment would be appropriate to prevent cavities.

Do you have more cavity questions? To speak with one of our pediatric dentistry professionals, contact Brier Creek Pediatric Dentistry today.