The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims, although oral health is improving for adults in the U.S., preschool kids are showing more signs of tooth decay. Children between the ages of 2 to 5 years are experiencing more cavities than ever. It may be that parents are taking oral health for granted when it comes to their children. Now is the time to turn the tables on dental disease for the generations to come. Consider the four F’s of dental health.
The country’s focus of filtered water may be part of the problem. Fluoride therapy is a key component in the fight against tooth decay. The CDC reports that the fluoridation of water was one of their great public health achievements in the 20th century. The shift towards filtered or bottled water is removing this element from kids lives. Their parent grew up drinking water that contains fluoride, and that may be one reason for their improved oral health. By removing this component, they are eliminating that benefit and increasing risk of tooth decay.
The answer might be at the dentist office. The dentist can offer extra protection for teeth that is critical to children who drink filtered water. She may suggest an over-the-counter oral rinse or supplemental fluoride treatment, for example.
It has a bad reputation, but it is an important part of oral hygiene. If done incorrectly, it can cause gum irritation and bleeding. Parents need to instill good dental habits into kids and that includes teaching them the importance of flossing.
- Start by getting the technique down. Your dentist can provide a demonstration. Once kids learn how to floss properly, it will less painful and scary.
- Be the example. Kids mimic the adults in their lives, so if they see you flossing, they will want to try it too.
- Make a game out of it. Add some music, offer rewards or tell a story that focuses on flossing – whatever it takes to make it fun.
Frequency of Carbohydrates
Sticky carbohydrates wreck havoc on teeth. Candy, chips, pretzels – these are all snacks that remain on the surface of teeth after you eat them. Sweet stuff is associated with tooth decay, but parents don’t always realize the danger of starches, which are just more complex forms of sugar.
All types of sugars, including carbohydrates give the bacteria something to feed on. The more bacteria in the mouth, the more decay.
- Cut back on starchy snack foods like chips and breads.
- Get kids in the habit of rinsing their mouths after they eat or drink. This will help reduce the build up of sugars.
- Make sure they brush and floss twice a day. Kids should not eat anything after brushing and flossing in the evening.
As in Dr. Freano – see the dentist every six months. The dentist will put a stop to tooth decay before it gets too extensive. Early diagnosis is the key to long lasting teeth. Other considerations include:
Professional cleaning – Dr. Freano will take dental hygiene to the next level by providing a professional cleaning and offer treatment options like fluoride therapy to improve the health of teeth.
Comprehensive Exam – Improper brushing and flossing can actually cause problems. The dentist will examine teeth and provide ways to improve your child’s oral hygiene at home such as offering a mouth rinse that contains fluoride.
Researchers are finding new ways to fight tooth decay and gum disease all the time. Your dentist is the most knowledgeable person around when it comes to cutting-edge treatment options. Let the professionals explain the importance of the four “Fs” in fighting the escalating rate of tooth decay in children.