Tooth Decay: Prevention (Toddlers And Preschoolers)
Here are some tips for raising a cavity-free generation:
- First: Make sure your child drinks fluoridated water. Fluoride builds strong, decay-resistant enamel. Your child needs fluoride in the diet from 6 months to 16 years of age. If your water supply doesn't contain fluoride, ask your healthcare provider for a prescription
- Second: Start brushing teeth when solid foods are introduced. Try to brush after each meal, but especially after the last meal of the day. Brush the teeth within the first 5 to 10 minutes after the end of the meal. If your child brushes his own teeth, go over them afterward, at least until age 6.
- Third: Avoid tote bottles or sippy-cups during waking hours. Young children who use milk, juice or other sweetened liquid for comforting are prone to severe dental decay.
- Fourth: Watch your child's diet, especially avoiding sticky candy. Sugars that stay in the mouth are converted to acid and the acid destroys the enamel.
- Fifth: When the permanent molars come in at about age 6, a special plastic seal can be applied to the top surfaces. This seal may protect against decay for a lifetime, so talk with your child's dentist about it.
If you have other questions about your child's teeth, discuss them with your healthcare provider or dentist.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 7/1/2005
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.