For many of my little patients’ parents, preventing tooth decay is the first thing on their mind. Luckily, controlling tooth decay and preventing cavities is not as hard as it seems, and by only slightly altering your routine you can create healthy habits that will prevent cavities for a lifetime.

Tooth decay is the result of bacteria that deposits on teeth from the food we eat. Over time it forms plaque. When we brush our teeth we remove this plaque, however when the plaque builds up and combines with sugar and starches it produces acids. These acids deteriorate the enamel and eventually lead to cavities.

The first step in preventing tooth decay is to steer your child clear from sugary snacks. By feeding them crunchy fruits and veggies like carrots and apples, you can significantly reduce the amount of plaque-causing sugar in your child’s mouth.

The next essential thing you can do to prevent tooth decay is teach your child to properly brush their teeth. When we brush, we remove the decay-causing plaque and remineralize the teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste. Children should brush two minutes after breakfast and two minutes before bedtime to remove the plaque that built up all day.

And finally, flossing. Brushing removes decay-causing plaque from the surfaces of teeth, but to remove the plaque from in-between the teeth, flossing is a must. It can be hard to teach kids how to floss, but with the use of cool new tools like pre-strung flossers, flossing is just as easy as brushing.

If you have any questions about helping your child prevent tooth decay, schedule an appointment with Dr. Maggie today. She’s a pediatric dentist who can teach both your child and you the various ways prevent tooth decay and cavities for a lifetime of healthy teeth.