Pediatric Oral Hygiene: How to Prevent Sugar Bugs!

One of the most common questions parents ask in the dental office is: “Why do my kids always seem to have cavities?”

With the mounds of candy probably sitting in your cupboard after a successful Halloween night for your child, it is critical to remember the importance of your child’s oral health. According to research by the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, nearly 1 in every 5 children under the age of 11 is likely to have at least one tooth with an untreated cavity. Cavities, by far, are the most prevalent chronic disease that affects children to date.

However, there is good news! Although they are extremely common, childhood cavities can be prevented if good at-home oral hygiene practices are established, a balanced nutritional diet is maintained, and routine professional dental care is sought out from an early age. Proper brushing and flossing, as well as incorporating ADA approved toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain fluoride (for children older than 2) are great ways to stop the cavities before they become a problem.

For children under the age of 2, we recommend that you brush the child’s teeth using a soft bristle toothbrush and a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste that does not contain fluoride unless otherwise instructed by the dentist. For children ages 2-6, we recommend that the child begins to brush their own teeth with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste while under the supervision of a parent to ensure that proper brushing techniques are used. Our dentists, hygienists, and assistants would be more than happy to show you the proper method for brushing next time you are in the office!

It is also extremely important that children are seen regularly (twice each year) in the dental office for a complete check-up, beginning at age 3. During these appointments, the dental care team will be able to provide your child with a thorough cleaning, a fluoride application, and sealants to prevent future decay. They will also be able to address any other concerns such as treating existing cavities and discussing other dental needs.

If you have any other questions about proper oral healthcare for your child, please call our office today and we would be happy to help! Be sure to also schedule your child’s next dental visit! Remember, cavities are preventable as long as you and your child are diligent about maintaining a good oral hygiene practice.

P.S. Everyone in our Blue Ridge Dental family loves promoting good oral hygiene. The picture above is our Clinic Administrator’s grandson showing off his great brushing technique!