No one said parenting was going to be easy, but it is definitely a rewarding experience. While you have probably read countless books and gotten lots of advice from friends, family members, and professionals, you have probably made some mistakes here and there. The good news is that you aren't alone. One area where you might think that you are doing everything right is with your child's teeth—until the dentist says that your child has a cavity. Below are a few common mistakes that you may be making that are causing preventable cavities.
Sleeping with Bottles
Naturally, babies and toddlers are both soothed by sucking, so it is very easy for them to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouths. However, this is not good for their oral health in the long run. The food will simply linger in your child's mouth, promoting the growth of bacteria. Plus, saliva tends to slow down once your child goes to sleep, which simply intensifies the problem—leading to tooth decay and numerous other oral health issues. And this can occur even before your child has any teeth erupt. Therefore, it is important that you do not promote this type of habit early on.
Consumption of Excessive Sugar
Do your children drink soda? If not, then kudos to you! You have already made a huge step toward preventing cavities in your household. However, there is a good chance that you still have some sugary drinks in your home. Many parents don't realize it, but juice has a significant amount of sugar in it and can be just as harmful as soda to your child's teeth. While this doesn't mean that juice, milk, and other drinks can't be given to your child, it does mean that you need to be careful at how much you give to them. In addition, when you offer sugary beverages or foods to your child, make sure that your child brushes and flosses 30 minutes after consumption.
Lack of Proper Dental Hygiene
Believe it or not, regardless of how old your child is and whether he or she has teeth yet, brushing is important. It is also important to brush the tongue. Dental hygiene is very important—without proper dental hygiene, cavities form, and this is one of the most common reason for cavities in young children.
Prior to the eruption of teeth, you should use a soft, clean cloth to clean inside your child's mouth, getting their gums, cheeks, and tongue. A soft bristle brush can be used once those teeth start coming in. At this point, brushing should take place at least twice a day, but you should do it after each meal if you can. Talk to your dentist to find out when you should begin flossing.
For more information about how to prevent cavities, talk to your child's dentist—and don't forget to maintain those twice-yearly dental appointments.