6 Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay

Did you know dental caries are the most common chronic disease in childhood?  Over half of 3rd graders in Washington have at least one cavity. Children who experience tooth decay are 3 times more likely to miss school and then often fall behind on their school work.

Here are 6 easy things you can to do protect your child’s teeth!

  1. Brush teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.  If your child is unable to tie their shoes that is a good sign they are unable to brush well without supervision.  Make sure they are getting all surfaces and brushing for 2 minutes.
  2. Avoid sugary drinks.  Juice (even 100% fruit juice) and pop have a lot of sugar which fuels the bacteria causing cavities.  If your child is going to drink these, make sure they drink it all at once and not sip on it throughout the day.  Also, it is best to rinse with water after sugary drinks or food.
  3. Schedule regular dental visits.  To keep your child’s teeth healthy they should see the dentist every 6 months starting from when their first tooth comes in.
  4. Dental Sealants.  Dental sealants are a hard plastic coating which is placed on the chewing surface of teeth by the dentist.  This acts as a barrier protecting the teeth from cavities.   Once your child’s molars come in, talk to your dentist about dental sealants.  Sealants can prevent up to 80% of cavities in children.
  5. Drink water.  Water helps rinse the teeth and removes the sugars that can build up and cause cavities.  This is especially important after eating candy or other sugary foods.  Water is the healthiest drink for your child.
  6. Fluoride supplements.  Spokane does not add fluoride to the water placing all children at high risk for dental caries.  Ask your doctor or dentist for a fluoride supplement to help keep your child’s teeth strong.  Your doctor or dentist can also apply fluoride varnish up to 4 times a year to help keep your child’s teeth strong.
The East Mission Dental Clinic and NHCW ribbon cutting and reception is photographed in Spokane Valley, Wash., Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Young Kwak for Community Health Association of Spokane)

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