No, parents can’t always provide a gourmet dinner every night of the week, they can’t always predict the weather, and they certainly can’t be everywhere at once. One amazing thing parents can do however is take an active role in preventing cavities among their children.
The influence of a parent is almost like a superpower which is pretty fitting considering our kids look to us as heroes. Kids are incredibly observant, latching on to our behavior during those formative years. Teaching our children about good oral health is right up there with learning the ABCs.
Your role as a cavity preventer begins from the moment your child grows their first teeth. Baby teeth are important, especially considering how prevalent dental caries are among infants. Parents should know that these temporary teeth actually serve as placeholders for adult teeth.
Water is your best friend when it comes to keeping cavities at bay. Juices are typically loaded with sugar, sugar that later wreaks havoc on teeth. If your child uses a bottle you’ll want to fill it with water unless it’s actually mealtime. Apart from water, milk is great for meals as it’s filling and fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
Practice regular cleanings with your baby. You’ll want to gently brush the gums following feeding time using a baby toothbrush with special soft bristles. You can also try wiping the teeth clean with a clean washcloth when a toothbrush is not available. After your child is 1-year-old you’ll want to begin brushing their teeth twice daily using a soft toothbrush.
Your first dental appointment is a great opportunity to speak with your doctor about fluoride. Is your child getting enough? Most experts recommend using a fluoride-free toothpaste prior to your child’s second birthday, but you’ll want to consult with your primary dentist.