Preventing Cavities in Children: Tips for Parents

Based on recent studies, Canada is ranked among the best when it comes to overall oral health. In fact, Canadians have access to some of the best oral health care in the world. Wait times to see a dentist and to receive treatments are typically a non-issue, and the majority of Canadians believe they have good oral health.  

However, while most citizens realize the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth and receiving proper dental care, sometimes, they have trouble getting their children to follow suit. 

As dentists, cavities are one of the most common and problematic dental issues we see in young patients. Left untreated, cavities can cause pain and infection and can also lead to a number of unwanted problems down the road.  The good news is cavities are preventable if you implement the following steps.  
For babies: 
Wipe their gums with a soft wash cloth in the morning and before bed to wipe away bacteria.  When the teeth first start to surface, brush with a small, soft toothbrush twice day using only water to keep clean.  Children who are younger than 2 should not use fluoride toothpaste until they have learned how to spit it out.
For children: 
To get ahead of cavities, encourage your child to brush their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.  Avoid giving your child sugary drinks as they can contribute to tooth decay.  Water is best.  Also, ask your child’s dentist to apply sealants when appropriate to prevent cavities.  Most importantly, help your young child brush their teeth until they can maintain good brushing skills on their own.  As parents, make sure you talk to your children about the importance of oral health. 
Ease their anxiety
It’s natural for children to be nervous the first time they visit the dentist.  There is a large amount of fear and pre-conceived notion that children think they are going to have a painful experience.  To combat worry, address their concerns on a level that your child will understand.  It may be helpful to walk them through exactly what will occur during their appointment, so that they know what to expect.  The dental practice should be well-versed on helping children through their appointment as well.