How Do I Prevent Cavities?

Girl brushing her teeth

Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and leftover food particles that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe the plaque from their gums. Once your child’s teeth erupt, brush them at least twice a day. A pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used after the child is old enough NOT to swallow it. When teaching your child to brush, place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle; start along the gum line with a soft bristle brush in a gentle circular motion. Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch. You should brush and floss your child’s teeth until he or she can do it alone in a proper manner.

Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Children should eat a variety of foods from the major food groups and avoid snacks containing sugar.

Visits every six months to the dentist, as recommended by The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.

Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water. This will help prevent a serious form of decay among young children commonly referred to as early childhood caries (ECC). This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.

Protective sealants may also be recommended by our office. Sealants can be applied to your child’s molars to prevent decay on hard to clean surfaces.