Earlier this month our state celebrated together as Miss Utah JessiKate Riley won the talent portion of the Miss America pageant. The Beehive State is proud to produce above-average citizens!
Remarkable violin prowess isn’t the only area in which we’re producing expectation-shattering results. We’ve also got a lot of kids with cavities.
It’s true. The national Healthy People 2020 target for children for cavities is 49%. A report from late 2016 shows that in Utah, a whopping ⅔ of kids have cavities!
That isn’t actually something to celebrate. It’s a public health crisis.
Michelle Martin, an oral health specialist with the Utah Department of Health, reminds us that “oral health is not only an integral part, but it’s a vital part of our overall health.”
Dentistry for Children wants to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your children. Read on for ways you can help your little ones in the fight against tooth decay.
Turn Away Toddler Tooth Decay
As with most health problems, prevention is the best cure. If you do your part to prevent plaque, you’ll be a step ahead of tooth decay and cavities.
One of the most common causes of toddler tooth decay is sending your little ones to bed with a bottle.
△ While juice or milk may be soothing, the sugar in these drinks will linger on teeth all night.
△ A sippy cup before bed will have the same results.
△ For bedtime drinks, swap juice and milk for water.
△ If you want to give your children juice or milk, teach them to drink quickly. Remember: slow sipping spreads sugar.
Speaking of sugar, is there anything kids love more? Children will always say yes to candy. It’s our job as adults to protect them from the consequences of too much sugar.
△ Avoid hard candy, which, like sipping, causes sugar to linger on teeth.
△ Avoid sugary foods whenever possible.
△ Save sugar for special occasions so that it’s always viewed as a treat.
△ Follow any sugary snacks with a glass of water to wash away lingering food particles.
Even toddlers need a good oral hygiene routine.
△ Before teeth erupt, gently clean gums daily with a soft cloth.
△ Once your kiddo has teeth, brush them twice every day.
△ Once two of those teeth touch, start flossing at least once every day.
△ From the very first tooth, start bringing your child to Dentistry for Children for regular exams and cleanings.
Combat Cavities In Older Kids
As your children grow, continue the same good dental habits. Make sure they’re using an alcohol-free antiseptic rinse to really clean every part of their mouths.
The habits you help them develop when they’re young will serve them well as they grow older. You are a steward of your child’s health.
There are several ways you can give your kids a boost in preventive power.
△ Fluoride treatments are the standard for preventing cavities. Be sure your child is using a fluoridated toothpaste.
△ When your child is here for exams and cleanings, we can provide extra fluoride treatments.
△ Sealants are a quick and easy way to give your molars a power-up against cavities. This plastic coating lasts up to ten years and keeps bacteria from clinging to teeth.
Don’t underestimate the power of a healthy diet. Cut down on sugar and give your kids foods that will strengthen their teeth.
△ Cut down on sugar. Save it for special occasions!
△ Serve your kids snacks that will fortify their teeth, like fresh veggies, fibrous fruits, yogurt, and nuts.
△ Give kids water or milk with their snacks.
Take Responsibility For Your Kids’ Cavities
You would do anything for your kids’ health and safety. That’s why you need to be doing these simple things to keep them healthy and safe.
It’s impossible to ignore the link between oral and physical health. If your child has unhealthy teeth, they’re going to have an unhealthy body.
Oral health also affects emotional health. Children realize early on that missing or rotten teeth are unattractive. If your kids have a lot of cavities, they’re going to be embarrassed by their smile. It could affect their self-esteem.
The most immediate risk with tooth decay is that cavities are painful! Your kids can’t avoid them on their own. As parents, it’s your job to protect their baby teeth and permanent teeth.