We all try our best to avoid possible infections in even minor cuts and scrapes, but did you know that according to the American Dental Association (ADA), tooth decay is the single most common infectious disease affecting U.S. children? And although oral health among the U.S. population as a whole continues to improve, among 2-to-5-year-olds, tooth decay in primary teeth (also called “baby teeth”) has increased.
Of course, regular dental checkups can help your child stay cavity-free, but the most important dental care should occur regularly at home. So in addition to visiting the dentist, be sure that your child follows these tips provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Avoid frequent snacking on sugary or starchy foods.
Brush teeth gently, at least twice a day, with special attention to the gum line.
Floss at least once a day.
Have a dentist or dental professional apply sealants if appropriate.
Get proper levels of fluoride in toothpaste, drinking water, or through fluoride supplements.*
*Note that the ADA does not recommend fluoride toothpaste for children younger than age 2 and does not recommend fluoride mouth rinses for children younger than age 6.
“Foundation Grant to Educate Pediatricians in Oral Health Care.” American Dental Association, February 11, 2008. www.ada.org/news/2279.aspx Accessed 2013.
“Regular Dental Visits.”American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. http://d27vj430nutdmd.cloudfront.net/17249/64412/64412.3.pdf Accessed 2013.
“Interim Guidance on Fluoride Intake for Infants and Young Children.” American Dental Association, November 8, 2006. http://www.fairbanksalaska.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/20061108ADA-Interim-Guidance-Fluoride-Intake.pdf Accessed 2013.