4 Common Mistakes that Cause Cavities in Kids

Unfortunately, cavities in kids’ teeth are quite common, even though they’re just about 100% preventable. Luckily, there are steps that you, as a parent, can take to ensure that your child remains cavity free. Below is a list of 4 bad habits that should be avoided in order to maintain your kid’s oral health.

Late Start

Some parents do not begin their child’s oral health journey until they reach the age of 5 or 6. This is much too late to get them started brushing their teeth or even going to a pediatric practice. Oral health begins at birth (link), and a child should have their first dentist appointment by the age of 1. Anything later than that, and you’re doing your child a disservice. They should be familiar with their dentist from a young age, and the sooner that occurs the better. This makes scheduling dental appointments easy and sets them up for a lifetime of good oral health decisions. It will also greatly reduce their chance of experiencing dental anxiety from a young age.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

It’s okay for your child to periodically drink fruit juices and milk. They do include valuable nutrients such as calcium and protein for your baby. However, they also have a lot of sugar. Sugar is one of the leading culprits as to why children develop cavities. The bacteria in their mouths feed on it and then produce acids. These acids then attack their tooth enamel. It takes about 20 minutes in order for their saliva to fully wash away the acid. Although, if they have a bottle filled with fruit juice or milk, which they continuously sip throughout the day, they’re continuously having their teeth bathed in sugar acid and constantly providing fuel for the bacteria. It’s not good for your child’s teeth if they’re constantly sipping juice or milk all day.

It’s also a terrible idea to give them a bottle of milk or juice right before bed. All the sugar will attach to their teeth as they sleep. It’s important that they finish their bottle before going to bed or before taking a nap. That way you can clean their teeth off before they fall asleep. But if they must go to bed with a bottle, make sure it’s filled with water. Water washes away the acid that causes cavities in your baby’s mouth.

Forgetting to Floss

There’s no doubt about the importance of brushing for the sake of everyone’s oral health. However, people still do not believe in the effectiveness of dental floss. This handy tool helps remove plaque and other nasty food particles between our teeth and along the gum line. It prevents cavities and periodontal disease. So why don’t we teach it to our children? It’s a mystery that plagues many pediatric dentists, because it’s recommended that everyone floss at least once a day.

It may be tricky for your kid to floss at first. If they’re younger than 6 or 7, you may have to floss for them. However, as they get older, they should do it on their own. It helps build a good habit. The rule of thumb when it comes to flossing and brushing, is that if they can tie their shoes they can do both. Every child develops their motor skills at different rates, so don’t be too alarmed if they’re slightly behind. Just keep encouraging them!

Sports Drink Substitute

Most parents are well aware that soft drinks and sodas are terrible for, not only their kids oral health, but their overall health as well. As a result, they limit the amount of soda their children drink. However, did you know that sports drinks are just as unhealthy for your kid’s oral health? The amount of sugar in sports drinks, as well as the amount of acid, is enough to do some heavy damage to your child’s teeth. There’s nothing wrong with having a Gatorade during a basketball or football game. It does replenish some nutrients lost when exerting physical energy. That being said, if your child is sitting around the house, a sports drink is certainly not needed. The combination of acids and sugars found in the drinks can cause plenty of cavities in your child’s mouth. Do not offer sports drinks as an alternative to soda. Water will always be the best drink for their oral health!

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