The One About Cavity Prevention for Kids

deca-pranje-zubaSince publishing this original post, our office has started offering Fluoride Varnish Treatment for kids that are 6 months to 3 years of age. It’s a great way to help prevent cavities and save on dental bills later in life!

Our patients have had lots of questions about the treatment since it is a relatively new service to be offered in a well child check up.

We wanted to let you know that we’ve put together some Frequently Asked Questions that you can skim through on our website.

Why care about fluoride varnish?  Well… unfortunately 10% of 2 year olds already have 1 or more cavities, and by age 5, nearly 50% of children have 1 or more cavities. That is too many cavities in our book, and it is a problem that is easily avoidable.

To dispel a myth, many parents assume that cavities in baby teeth aren’t a big deal because they’ll be lost anyway. Unfortunately, though, dental decay in baby teeth can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental problems as teenagers and adults.

So what can you do to help prevent tooth decay in your child?

  • Begin brushing as soon as you see that first tooth! You may use a washcloth, a finger toothbrush, or a soft bristled toothbrush. Brush twice daily, and continue to assist your child with brushing until they have learned the routine well (usually age 6-7).
  • Use a water or baby formulated toothpaste to start. You can switch to a fluoride toothpaste when you feel like they are able to spit.
  • Never put your child to bed with a bottle or food as this can expose your child’s teeth to sugars and can also increase the risk for choking and ear infections.
  • Teach your child to drink from a regular cup as soon as possible, preferably by 12 to 15 months of age. Drinking from a cup is less likely to allow the fluid to collect around the teeth and cause cavities.
  • Serve juice only during meals and limit it to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
  • Try to avoid sweet or sticky foods like candy, fruit snacks (gummies) or fruit roll ups. These sugary snacks can stick to teeth easily, increasing the risk for cavities.
  • Schedule an appointment for your child with your family dentist or a pediatric dentist. Typically, dentists like to begin seeing children between 1 to 2 years of age for check ups.

Lastly, as parents, make sure you are taking care of your own teeth – your child will pick up on your good habits! For more helpful information on oral hygiene, check out these articles from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Oral Health.

I especially like this one – Let the Brushing Games Begin, as it gives some great ideas on how to make brushing fun and a matter of routine.

-Lindsey Moore, MD

Dr. Lindsey Moore is a guest blogger for the Cedar Park Kid Doc blog and is a full-time Pediatrician at Cedar Park Pediatric & Family Medicine.

Dr. Moore sees patients at both the Cypress Creek and Vista Ridge clinics.


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