Did you know that 1 in 4 children have a cavity before they begin elementary school? Despite all of the advances in dental care, cavities continue to be the #1 chronic disease in children aged 6 to 19 years. The good news is that cavities—also known as dental caries—are completely preventable.
So how can you help your child grow up with a beautiful, healthy smile? You should take your child to see a family dentist when their first tooth appears, and have dental checkups every six months after that.
In Albuquerque, NM, parents trust Dr. Jeff S. Luffey, DDS, to provide routine & advanced dental care for their children. In additions to regular trips to see a family dentist, Dr. Luffey recommends the following tips to prevent cavities in your child.
#1 Brush & Floss Twice Daily
Preventing cavities and gum disease is as simple as brushing your child’s teeth and flossing twice every day. You can clean your child’s first teeth with a clean, damp cloth or a very soft brush. Once your child is about 2 years old, you can begin using toothpaste with fluoride. Make sure you change your child’s toothbrush once every 3 months.
#2 Teach Your Children Oral Health Basics
You can begin letting your child handle the toothbrush at about 2 years old, but wait until he are about 5 or 6 to allow him to brush on his own. Once your child starts bushing on his own, check to make sure he did not miss anything along the gum line. When your child has enough teeth so that they touch each other, begin to introduce flossing once per day.
#3 Use Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are thin protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars to prevent tooth decay. When your child’s first permanent molars come in (usually between the ages of 5 and 7), you should contact our Albuquerque dentist for dental sealants to protect the teeth before decay attacks.
#4 Avoid Sugary Snacks
A recent study posted on Dr. Luffey’s Facebook page showed that sugar is the ONLY cause of tooth decay. It’s important not to allow your child to snack on sugary foods throughout the day. If your child has some candy or soda, encourage him to drink a glass of water to wash away the sugar and acid. Do NOT allow your child to snack after brushing their teeth at night!
#5 Be Cautious With the Pacifier
A pacifier is a wonderful way to help your baby fall asleep, but once your infant is sleeping, do not reinsert the pacifier. Long-term use can cause a misaligned bite that will eventually require neuromuscular dentistry to correct. Doctors recommend children stop using pacifiers around 2 to 3 years of age.
Family Dentist in Albuquerque, NM
Dr. Jeff S. Luffey provides dental care for your entire family in Albuquerque, NM. From cosmetic dentistry to full mouth reconstructions, Dr. Luffey provides routine and advanced dental care that makes a difference in the health and beauty of your smile. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Luffey, contact us at 505-294-4700 today.