How to prevent Tooth Decay in Children?

child teeth
Tooth decay is commonly called as dental caries. Dental caries is a disease that causes damage to tooth structure. It causes your child pain; need expensive treatment and leads to problems. It occurs when bits of food that we eat are left within the teeth. Germs in the mouth turn those tiny bits of food (plaque) into acid that eats away the tooth surface, thus creating cavities.

Longer the teeth left untreated more the child will experience following problems:

1)Pain and discomfort
2)Risk of decay in permanent teeth
3)Poor speech and jaw development
4)More complicated and expensive treatment

Tooth decay can generally be spotted at home also. The first sign of tooth decay is when you see a white soft band around the gum line of teeth. Also brown spots start developing on tooth. And when decay progresses gums become red and swollen with black spots on tooth. Tooth decay can be very much prevented if we take good care of our oral hygiene, following are the steps that we can adopt to prevent the decay in tooth.

1. Brush your teeth regularly. Brush your teeth at least twice daily one in the morning and one before going to bed. To clean between the teeth use of floss or interdentally cleaner should be done.

2. Rinse your mouth regularly. You should rinse your mouth after every meal to remove any tiny bit of food to get accumulated on tooth. If you are prone to caries you can use fluoride containing mouth washes.

3. Drink tap water. Drinking some public water that has fluoride added to it helps in preventing the decay of tooth. By drinking just mineral water we can miss the benefits of fluoride that helps in preventing the cavities to develop.

4. Eat healthy foods. One should avoid to eat unhealthy foods that stick in grooves and pits of teeth like chips, candies, chocolates, pizzas, burgers, cookies etc. These foods, by sticking on to the tooth, gets converted into acid and hence forms cavity. Instead one should eat foods that are good for health like cheese which according to some researches prevents cavity formation. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables which increase the flow of saliva and preventing the dry mouth condition. More the mouth is dry, more the cavities will develop. Drink unsweetened tea, coffee, which helps in washing away food particles.

5. Avoid bottle feeding at night. If your child is bottle fed, try to stop that and switch over to other means. Bottle feeding is the biggest cause of nursing bottle caries in children, in which all teeth except the lower front ones are cavitated.

6. Visit your dentist regularly. Get professional oral examination done and regular cleanings done which helps in spotting the problem at very early stage so that timely treatment can be carried out.

7. Get pit and fissure sealants done. A sealant is a plastic protective covering which is applied around the tooth surface. This covering seals the pits and fissures of tooth that have tendency to collect food in them.

8. Get fluoride treatment done. If you are not getting enough fluoride trough water or other recourses your dentist may recommend you to get fluoride treatment done. In this a concentrated fluoride is applied around the tooth surface. This creates a caries free atmosphere around the tooth. One can also use fluoridated toothpastes and fluoridated mouth washes.

9. Consider antibacterial treatments. If you are quite vulnerable to tooth decay due to some medical reasons your dentist may recommend you to use antibacterial mouth wash or antibacterial treatments to reduce the bacteria content.

To know about some statistical data for tooth decay in children visit

Written By: Dr. Aastha, Mohali, Punjab, India

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice