Tips for a Cavity-Free New Year
By Dr. Peter Markov, Owner and Dentist at VK Pediatric Dentistry in Arlington, VA
Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, and nearly 20% of kid's cavities are left untreated. Even more surprising is that nearly all cavities are 100% preventable. Want a cavity free year? Follow these steps to prevent cavities and keep your child’s smile healthy!
#1. Keep regular dental visits at VK Pediatric Dentistry
Start the year off right by setting up an appointment for your child. Scheduling an appointment every six months for a regular cleaning and check-up will help prevent cavities. Putting off necessary exams or treatment often causes problems to become more costly, more time consuming and potentially more painful. Don’t wait until a problem arises or until your kids complain of pain. Prevention is the name of the game!
#2. Brush twice a day for two minutes
Brushing twice a day for two minutes is essential to staying cavity free. Establish good brushing habits early! Brush your child’s teeth twice a day for two minutes using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. Check out the website www.2min2x.org for some helpful resources. Kids can begin brushing their own teeth around age seven (Helpful hint – If your child can tie their own shoes, they can brush their own teeth).
#3. Seal out decay
Dental sealants are one of the easiest and most effective ways to help your child fight tooth decay. Sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of cavities by 80%. Sealants involve a thin protective coating on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, which creates a barrier where food often gets trapped. Prevention is key to being cavity free, especially in kids!
#4. Focus on tooth-friendly foods & drinks
Instead of a new diet trend this year, focus on a tooth-friendly one. Establish healthy eating habits that include a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Even foods that are organic, non-gmo, preservative free can have a lot of sugar. Serve nutritious snacks to your kids and limit sweets to mealtime. If you're going to allow the occasional sweet, always try to have your kids drink water afterwards to get the sugar of their teeth. Limiting sugar is the number one way to prevent cavities!
#5. Floss every day
Why not start a new habit this year and floss every day? Sometimes a small change can make a big difference. Try flossing before you brush and see if the habit sticks. It is important to begin flossing as soon as your child’s teeth start to touch. Flossing allows for food to be removed from places that a toothbrush cannot reach, and it is a great way to prevent gum disease.
Follow these tips to make sure your kids start the New Year off with a healthy smile!
VK Pediatric Dentistry
5001 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA 22207