According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cavities are the most common chronic disease affecting children. The good news is that you can help your child avoid cavities by making sure they brush and floss their teeth every day. Routine visits with our pediatric dentist will also help ensure that your child is on the right track to maintaining a healthy smile.
Here are the top reasons for childhood tooth decay.
An invisible film of bacteria called plaque lives inside your child’s mouth, sticking to their teeth and gums. When they don’t brush and floss on a regular basis, this plaque can harden into tartar and lead to cavities.
In general, your child should be able to brush their own teeth once they’re able to tie their own shoes. This is typically around age six, but we recommend that you continue to monitor your child while they brush their teeth. This will help ensure that they’re brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time.
In addition to brushing, you should also make sure your child is flossing once a day. This will help remove any plaque or food particles caught between teeth. Not flossing can lead to cavities forming between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach.
Learn More: 5 Dental Hygiene Tips for Toddlers →
Contrary to popular belief, sugar doesn’t directly cause cavities. But it is a part of the problem. The bacteria that live inside your child’s mouth love to eat sugar. They then produce an acid that attacks your child’s gums and erodes the enamel.
While you can’t see plaque, your child may be able to feel it on their teeth. Plaque buildup often makes the teeth feel rough or “fuzzy,” especially after consuming a lot of sugar. For example, fruit juice can contain a lot of sugar and feed the bacteria in your child’s mouth.
You can remove plaque at home by brushing and flossing your child’s teeth. But only a skilled dental professional will be able to remove tartar. That’s why it’s important that your child get their routine teeth cleanings and oral examinations.
In general, we recommend that children see us for teeth cleanings every six months. But it’s important to remember that each child is different. During your child’s appointment, Dr. Kim would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about your child’s oral health needs.
Dr. Wanki William Kim is an experienced pediatric dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. He’s also accepting new patients and would be more than happy to help your child learn healthy oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.
To request an appointment for your child, please call the Pediatric Dentistry of Michigan at (616) 447-7900. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our dental office will reach out to you soon.