5 Ways to Prevent Cavities in Your Child's Teeth

As a parent, you care deeply about your child's happiness and safety. You provide him or her with an education, flu shots and social interaction.

You understand how important it is to establish a strong foundation for your child's future. But have you thought about how to keep their teeth healthy?

Many children don't particularly love going to the dentist, and your experience there can be less than ideal when your young one throws a tantrum-or at least feels uncomfortable. The reason for this fear comes in part from dental fillings.

These common procedures remedy dental cavities, but they also cause young children to panic. To keep your child's teeth healthy and strong-and to make your next trip to the dentist a positive one-read the following five tips to prevent cavities.

1. Consistently Brush and Floss

As obvious as it is important, brushing and flossing should be a fundamental habit in your child's life. Remind your little one to brush his or her teeth every morning and evening. Also, talk about how flossing once or twice a day rids teeth of leftover food and bacteria.

And don't worry-there are different ways to motivate your child to reach these daily goals. You can brush and floss with them and lead by example. Or, buy him or her a children's-themed toothbrush or toothpaste to make the process more enjoyable.

2. Limit Sweets

As a child, few things seem more enjoyable than a delicious chocolate bar or bag of gummy snakes. While it's okay to eat these types of foods, teach your child the importance of moderation. Candy and sugary drinks are some of the most common causes of cavities, so work with your child to avoid consuming too much.

Your child can start by cutting down on excessive snacking. Replace fruit drinks and packaged biscuits with beverages like water or milk and snacks like cheeses or nuts. Once your child establishes healthier eating habits-after some time of course-his or her teeth will face less risk of cavities.

3. Offer Rewards for Healthy Teeth

Children love prizes and treats, and you enjoy the look on their faces after they've earned something special. Consider rewarding your child for successful dentist trips. If your dentist finds no cavities during your child's appointment, take him or her out to a movie or buy a new book or toy. Make sure not to resort to fast food or candy for the reward you give your child so they don't hinder their oral health.

As you reward your young one, you encourage him or her to continue good teeth-care habits, and you motivate him or her to avoid practices that could damage or decay teeth over time. You also teach an important lesson in oral hygiene that prepares your child for the future.

4. Talk to Your Dentist About Sealants

One way to prevent cavities and to strengthen your child's teeth is to get a dental sealant applied to problem teeth (mostly molars). Your dentist knows the best course of action regarding sealants and can apply these protective barriers onto the surface of teeth.

Sealants are especially effective at preventing food debris from lodging itself in hard-to-brush places. They make it easier for your child to brush and floss, and they might save you money on fillings in the future. Most sealants are affordable and last up to ten years.

5. Try Fluoride Toothpaste and Mouthwash

As mentioned earlier, brushing and flossing teeth is crucial to daily teeth care. But to gain an added measure of security about your child's oral well-being, invest in special fluoride toothpaste and mouthwashes.

The compounds in fluoride actually repair teeth and add durability to each tooth's enamel. Fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash also protect the minerals in your child's teeth and leave his or her mouth feeling fresh and clean.

Your child deserves a healthy mouth and a joyful smile. Remember these tips and do your best to keep your child's teeth free from cavities and other types of tooth decay. And at your next dental visit, ask your dentist for even more advice.

smiling mother and child