Toothache due to cavities can hinder many children’s activities, including eating, studying, and even resting. Therefore, it is important to prevent cavities so that children can always be active, cheerful, and healthy.
Toddlers and children are very susceptible to cavities. One of the triggers is their penchant for eating sweet foods and drinks, aka high sugar content. If combined with a pattern of maintaining dental health that is not regular, the risk will certainly be higher.
How to Prevent Cavities in Children
Here are some ways to prevent cavities in children that you need to know:
1. Clean your child’s teeth from an early age
Babies grow their first teeth usually when they are 6 months old. The first teeth to appear are the two front teeth (incisors) on the lower gums. At this time, you are advised to always clean his teeth 2 times a day, using water and a special soft-bristled baby toothbrush.
Also keep in mind that as long as children are under 2 years old, never try to use fluoridated toothpaste, except on the advice of a doctor.
2. Do the first dental checkup
When the child is 1 year old, you are also advised to take him to the pediatric dentist for his first dental examination. This aims to find out the signs of dental problems that may exist and treat them early.
3. Teach children how to brush their teeth
When your child is 3-4 years old, you can start teaching him how to brush his teeth by giving an example while practicing it. At the beginning, help the child by holding the toothbrush and directing his hand.
At this age, children are allowed to use a pea-sized amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste. However, before the age of 6 years, children need to be supervised while brushing their teeth. Remind him not to swallow the toothpaste and spit it out. Teach and supervise also when the child gargles.
4. Teach children good toothbrushing habits
When your child is able to brush his own teeth, remind him of good toothbrushing habits, such as brushing his teeth every morning and before going to bed. Here are some tips for teaching children to brush their teeth properly:
- Let your child choose their own favorite toothbrush color and use a manual toothbrush instead of an electric toothbrush.
- Create a fun tooth brushing activity for children, for example by singing together or telling stories.
- Change your child’s toothbrush every 3-4 months and prevent other people from using the toothbrush.
Teach children to store toothbrushes in a standing position, in a dry and open container.
5. Get used to children to eat nutritious food
Limit giving children sugary foods and drinks, such as candy, cakes and biscuits, chocolate, and soft drinks, because these are very easy to trigger cavities.
Instead, get your child used to eating healthy foods that can support healthy teeth, such as vegetables and fruits that contain lots of fiber, as well as milk, cheese, and yogurt as a source of calcium.
6. Don’t make children afraid of the dentist
Regular visits to the dentist are important to detect and prevent tooth decay, including cavities. Therefore, do not scare your child with threats to the dentist when he is lazy to brush his teeth or does not want to stop eating sweet foods.
Instead, tell your child about what damage can happen to his teeth if he neglects to take care of his teeth. In addition, tell that the dentist is the person who can help him take care of his dental health, so that the child is not afraid to go to the dentist.
Preventing cavities in children is not only related to healthy teeth and mouth, but also a healthy child’s body. The reason is, cavities can be a source of other health problems that are more serious and disturbing, such as severe pain, infection, and lazy to eat that can cause weight loss.
The most important thing you need to remember in applying the method above is to set yourself as an example. If you don’t brush your teeth regularly, eat sugary foods often, or are in a rush when brushing your teeth, your child may follow suit and end up underestimating the importance of maintaining healthy teeth.