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Three ways to prevent tooth decay in children

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Tooth decay can wreak havoc on a child's dental health, causing cavities, infection, and inflammation which may require painful, costly and lengthy dental treatments. As such, it's worth doing everything you can to prevent your children from developing tooth decay. Here are three ways to do this.

Avoid feeding them decay-inducing foods

Your children's diet can play a significant role in their chances of developing tooth decay and other dental health problems. Food and drink that are high in sugar can encourage the growth of bacterial plaque inside the mouth, which can, in turn, greatly increase your children's risk of suffering from cavities.

Try to avoid rewarding your little ones with food-based treats; regularly giving them things like lollipops, ice-cream or chocolate bars when they achieve something or behave well could result in serious damage to their teeth. Instead of treating them to sugary snacks, give them things like colouring books and pencils, or bring them on a fun trip to the local park or cinema.

Additionally, rather than giving them fruit juice and fizzy drinks, both of which are packed full of sugar, give them milk, water or diluted, sugar-free cordial instead.

Don't skip their yearly dental check-up

If you want to keep your children's teeth in good condition, it is essential not to skip their routine visits to your local family dentistry practice. Regular check-ups will enable your dentist to monitor the development of your children's teeth and gums and provide you with advice on how to maintain their oral health.

Routine examinations will also allow the dentist to spot and address the early warning signs of tooth decay before this issue begins to cause dental complications which will require painful treatments. For example, if they notice that there's a build-up of tartar on a child's teeth, they can perform a simple scale-and-polish to remove this hardened plaque before it starts to erode the tooth enamel and cause the kind of decay that needs to be treated with either fillings or root canal therapy.

Find ways to motivate your children to brush their teeth

Making sure that your children have a consistent dental hygiene routine is one of the best ways to keep their teeth and gums healthy. However, it's not always easy to motivate little ones to brush and floss their teeth twice a day.

One way to encourage them to keep up with their dental hygiene is to make tooth-brushing a family activity. Young children tend to mimic their parent's behaviour; as such, if they see you brushing your teeth carefully and consistently twice a day, they will be more inclined to do the same.

Another effective way to motivate them is to buy them a child-friendly toothpaste; the mint flavour of most standard adult toothpastes is too strong for younger children and may put them off brushing their teeth. Look for colourful ones which come in pleasant, mild flavours, such as strawberry, bubblegum, or orange.