How do I keep my kids cavity free BEFORE the dental visit?
One question we are often asked as pediatricians is “how do I keep my kids teeth healthy and cavity free before the dentist visit?” The answer these days involves more than just brushing teeth.
Having said that, you should still brush your child’s teeth, at least twice a day, starting with their very first tooth. Make sure to use a toothpaste with fluoride, and once your child is old enough, rinse with an alcohol-free fluoride based mouthwash. Also, don’t forget the piece of string we all forget about, floss! This should be done once a day.
After these basic steps don’t forget about diet. Juice should be limited to 6 oz a day due to its high sugar content. And what about that fizzy, sweet carbonated stuff we all love? Well your child shouldn’t consume ANY until at least 30 months of age. I should write this sentence twice.
Also as much as we like to say sharing is caring, when it comes to your child’s teeth- it is not! Parents should try and avoid sharing utensils or food with their children. This can lead to passing down of bacteria that cause dental caries, and yes, dental caries can be passed down. The point is, if you are a parent, do not give your child your spoon.
While on the subject don’t forget to stop the bottle and pacifier at the right time. It is not uncommon to see 2 or 3 year old kids still walking around with one or the other. Ideally, the bottle and pacifier should be stopped by age 1. Transitioning from bottle, to sippy cups, to straw cup as soon as possible is a huge part of keeping your toddler cavity free. That darn pacifier should be gone by their first birthday.
That’s it for this month folks. Short, and ironically, sweet.
Dr Ahmad Bailony is a San Diego native and a board certified pediatrician at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns. He is a partner at Bailony Pediatrics in Chula Vista. To follow his monthly blog posts, follow him at PediatricDentistSanDiego.com.