Although a 4 percent increase may not seem like a lot, it represents thousands and thousands of children and cavities — as well as a trend in the opposite direction of the last 40 years, when tooth decay had been on the gradual decline.
So if you have children and cavities are a concern, here are six easy ways to reduce the risk:
1. Avoid giving your baby juice or formula at night. The sugar in juice and formula causes the bacteria in the mouth to produce the acids that cause baby bottle tooth decay. Use fluoridated water instead.
2. Choose low-fat foods from the basic food groups. Raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole-grain breads and low-fat dairy products are great for your child’s overall health and their dental health!
3. If you must, give sweets only as a dessert. If your child must have sweets, limit it to dessert or following a main meal. Late-night snacking and frequent snacking are a major culprit of cavities in children.
4. Invest in a water filter. Instead of spending extra on bottled water, invest in a filter for your sink, or a filtered water pitcher. Fluoridated tap water is an excellent resource to help the battle between children and cavities.
5. Don’t share cups or utensils. Cavities are contagious. So if you have them, you can pass them onto your child by sharing cups and utensils.
6. If you smoke, stop. The University of Rochester’s Strong Children’s Research Center has discovered a link between smoking, children and cavities. Results from a study show that children of parents who smoke are more likely to develop cavities. This is only a correlation, not cause and effect.
Beyond these easy and inexpensive ways to prevent cavities in children, you might consider having your dentist apply sealants to your child’s teeth. Finally, socialize your kids to brush multiple times a day. And if we can be of help or answer your questions, please feel free to contact us.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328