The discomfort and subsequent cost of cavities in kid teeth are certainly an inconvenience. Certainly, it is ideal to vigilantly avoid your child getting cavities in the first place. Cavities in children are not uncommon, but if you’ve ever taken your child to the dentist, or any doctor for that matter, you know how stressful it can be. At Victory Plaza Dental Group in North Hollywood, we want to help you avoid cavities in kid teeth.
The fact is that preventing cavities in children isn’t difficult. If you know what causes cavities in baby teeth and choose to disallow those causes, your children will avoid cavities. Furthermore, regular dental hygiene and checkups will help your child avoid cavities. Below we take a look at some of what causes cavities in baby teeth and ways to prevent cavities in kid teeth.
What Causes Cavities in Children
Essentially there are two profound causes for cavities in kid teeth. Lack of adequate dental hygiene and particular foods in a child’s diet are the primary causes of cavities in kid teeth.
Poor Dental Hygiene
If you have a child with lots of cavities, you may be wondering what you could have done to prevent them. Inadequate or poor dental hygiene is one of the few major causes of cavities in children. Below we break down different areas of dental hygiene.
When a child with a 4 year old cavity comes into our office we know that its causes are one of two things. As a pediatric dentist, we commonly see that children are not properly flossing their teeth if they’re flossing at all. Brushing your teeth can only do so much. Unfortunately, even good brushing habits will never entirely clean your child’s teeth and gums. Just like in adults, the only way to remove pesky food debris and plaque from between your child’s teeth is by flossing every night. Not flossing at all or improperly flossing your child’s teeth will certainly cause bacteria to grow. The subsequent result of bacterial growth is cavities in children.
It’s easy to forget that although your child may willingly brush his or her teeth, as a small child they are probably not doing so thoroughly. It’s imperative that children are brushing for an adequate duration and brushing each tooth individually. One of the ways you can encourage your child to improve brushing time is by using a fun sand timer. Using a timer that he or she can operate on their own will encourage them to focus on brushing their teeth for the recommended two minutes. Bright and colorful sand-timers or even your phone timer with a fun alarm can encourage your child to brush well. At Victory Plaza Dental Group in North Hollywood, we can help you learn how to practice good dental hygiene with your child.
The second biggest factor leading to cavities in kid teeth is diet. The types of foods and drinks your child is consuming play a prolific role in whether or not they develop a tooth cavity. Even though by properly flossing, your child can easily remove the remnants of all food debris, some foods are more troublesome than others. The biggest culprits with regard to cavity-causing foods are sugary and starchy foods. Unfortunately, if you’re the parent of a small child you know how much they love their sweets and carbohydrates. Reducing and even eliminating big offenders will help you avoid toddler cavities. Take a look at some of the foods we at Victory Plaza Dental Group in North Hollywood recommend you moderate in your child’s diet.
Foods that Increase the Risk of Cavities in Children
- Soda-Carbonated beverages like soda contain phosphorus which is known to weaken tooth enamel. Weakened tooth enamel makes children more susceptible to toddler tooth decay and cavities in baby teeth. Beyond that, most children gravitate to sugary sodas so the sugar content coupled with the soda’s carbonation make soda doubly dangerous for teeth.
- Fruit Juice-High in sugar content, fruit juices are one of the worst offenders in terms of dental cavities in toddlers. If you insist on allowing your child to drink fruit juice, be sure to do so in a very moderated way. Certainly, the best choice of drink for small children is water.
- Starchy Foods-Starchy foods that are high in carbohydrates are known for causing toddler tooth decay. Carbohydrates turn to sugars and if allowed to remain between teeth, as a result of poor dental hygiene, they quickly cause decay and become cavities in baby teeth.
- Sweet Snacks-Sweet treats are notoriously bad for children. Known for causing cavities in kid teeth, sugary treats should be avoided or at the very least limited. Treats like candy are especially bad for children and may cause cavities in baby teeth.
- Fruit Snacks-Fruit snacks get a category of their own because they are that bad. Fruit snacks and other gummy treats are sticky and therefore stick around in a child’s teeth for a long time. As a dentist in North Hollywood, we often see toddler cavities that parents attribute to over-consumption of fruit and gummy snacks.
Identifying Dental Cavities in Toddlers
As a parent, you may be wondering: can toddlers get cavities? As we’ve identified herein, toddlers most certainly can get cavities. Identifying a 4 year old cavity is as easy as a visit to your dentist in North Hollywood. A simple dental examination and x-ray can reveal toddler tooth decay, toddler cavities, front tooth cavity, and more. The dental x-ray coupled with a clinical examination by a children dentist, can identify the presence of cavities in kid teeth and other dental issues.
How to Prevent Toddler Tooth Decay and Cavities in Young Children
We’ve previously addressed this pressing question: Can baby teeth get cavities? Now that you know cavities in baby teeth are quite common, let’s discuss some of the simple ways to prevent a tooth cavity in your child. If you’ve ever had a tooth cavity you know it can be painful. Surely, as a parent, you want to protect your child from anything that may cause them pain. Dental cavities in toddlers are one of the most easily preventable ailments to protect your child from. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to protect your child from tooth cavity discomfort.
Proper Brushing and Flossing
Cavities in young children are easy to prevent with proper dental hygiene. Your child’s teeth, as soon as they have a full mouth of teeth, must be flossed on a regular basis. Regular flossing is the only way to effectively remove wedged food bits that could lead to a cavity on front tooth or cavities in kid teeth in general. Habitual flossing can help to avoid that pesky 4 year old cavity. Be vigilant and it won’t turn into a 6 year old cavity. If you have a child with lots of cavities, be sure to improve dental hygiene habits.
It’s as simple as brushing regularly for the right length of time and making sure all teeth are individually brushed. Young children aren’t the best at this, so they’ll need help and supervision. One way to encourage an independent tooth brusher is to model good brushing habits. Simply, grab your toothbrush and brush with your child, narrating as you focus on each individual tooth. Cavities in young children can be frustrating for parents and children alike. By practicing good brushing and flossing habits you will avoid cavities in kid teeth.
Regularly Begin Visiting the Pediatric Dentist When Teeth First Erupt
At Victory Plaza Dental Group in North Hollywood, we have a special children dentist who will examine your child’s teeth as soon as they begin erupting. Although some pediatricians may recommend waiting until children are a bit older, this pediatric dentist understands the importance of starting sooner. By monitoring dental health and performing regular cleanings, you can help to avert a tooth cavity in your young child. Certainly, the goal is to avoid cavities in kid teeth altogether.
Incorporating recommended amounts of fluoride into your child’s routine can help prevent an unwanted tooth cavity. Simply, fluoride restores the minerals lost when bacteria diminish a child’s naturally occurring minerals like calcium. In some towns, public water is fluoridated; if this is the case in your town or city, your child may already be getting enough fluoride. If not, you can incorporate fluoride through toothpaste and fluoridated bottled water. Speak with your dentist in North Hollywood for recommendations regarding fluoride. Cavities in kids are bothersome for children and parents alike, so by incorporating fluoride into your child’s routine you can help to avoid a tooth cavity.
Eliminate Sugary and Starchy Foods
As noted earlier, sugary and starchy foods are major culprits in causing cavities in kid teeth. If you have a child with lots of cavities, it may be time to assess their diet. A 6 year old cavity does not develop overnight. So if your child has a tooth cavity, not only is it time to see the children dentist, but it may also be time to make alterations to his or her diet. As mentioned earlier, a tooth cavity can be avoided by reducing or eliminating major culprits like soda, candy, fruit snacks, fruit juice, and starchy foods. A 6 year old cavity or a cavity on front tooth can be circumvented through the elimination of these foods known to cause a tooth cavity.
Visit the Dentist Regularly
Beyond beginning dental visits early in a child’s life, it’s important to continue to regularly visit a pediatric dentist as they grow. One of the simplest ways to prevent a tooth cavity is through maintaining a regular dental cleaning per your dentist’s recommendations. Regular in-office cleanings with a dental hygienist are more thorough than the flossing and brushing you will do at home. As such, these routine cleanings can help to prevent the occurrence of a tooth cavity.
Apply a Dental Sealant
A final way to protect your child from developing a tooth cavity is by applying dental sealant to their teeth. This is a painless procedure done in our office. The sealant is a preventative measure intended to protect your child’s teeth from developing bacteria and a subsequent tooth cavity. Certainly, consult your dentist to determine if dental sealant is appropriate for your child.