Cavity Prevention for Children

Toothpaste Dental cavities can be prevented for most children. To keep those pearly whites pearly it takes being mindful about eating, drinking and brushing habits along with being knowledgeable about your child’s water supply. Remember, every time we eat or drink something that contains sugar or starches, bacteria in our mouth uses the sugar and starch to produce acids. These acids begin to eat away at the tooth’s enamel. Our saliva can help fight off this acid attack unless there are a lot of foods high in starch and sugar in your diet. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on how often your children eat as well as what they eat.

A key source in strengthening teeth against cavities is fluoride. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is important for preventing cavities. Most bottled water does not contain enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay. If your child drinks only bottled water, speak with a dentist about whether your child needs additional fluoride in the form of a vitamin, varnish, or gel.

Young children cannot get their teeth clean by themselves. For children aged two to six, it is recommended that an adult puts the toothpaste on the brush. Use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.Try brushing your child’s teeth first, then let him/her finish.  Until they are seven or eight years old, you will need to help your child brush.

Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallow it. Children under six years old tend to swallow much of the toothpaste on their brush. If children regularly consume higher-than-recommended amounts of fluoride during the teeth-forming years (age eight and younger), their permanent teeth may develop white lines or flecks called dental fluorosis. Fluorosis is usually mild; in many cases, only a dental professional would notice it. (In children under age two, dental experts recommend that you do not use fluoride toothpaste unless directed by a dentist.)

It is recommended that children see their dentist every six months for regular check-ups and cavity prevention. To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-6980.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.