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Cavities are the most common dental concern for kids ages five and up, says Dr. Beshoy Youssef at Sun River Dental in Sooke. And while you can’t entirely stop them from occurring, he says there are plenty of simple ways to help reduce the risk and slow their development.
Take the guesswork out of keeping your kid’s smile bright and healthy with Dr. Youssef’s fast facts on childhood oral health!
Prevention is key when it comes to oral hygiene
The rumours are true, at least when it comes to how cavities are formed! The leading cause of cavities is indeed high sugar foods and inadequate dental habits, Dr. Youssef says. That means that the best way to prevent tooth decay and cavities is to establish good habits early on, and maintain a healthy diet.
“Cleaning our teeth after every meal is one thing we do have control over, and it’s the most effective way to prevent tooth decay,” Dr. Youssef says. “Developing these habits in kids is important in ensuring their life long oral health. A good approach is to turn brushing their teeth into something fun — that’s what we like to do here at the office as well.”
Find ways to make tooth brushing playful, while still expressing how important it is. Try letting your child pick out their own toothbrush — one decorated with their favourite character can help make things more exciting. Most importantly, says Dr. Youssef, be consistent.
How long should kids be brushing their teeth for?
“It’s recommended that children brush their teeth for at least two minutes, but how they brush is more important,” Dr. Youssef says.
“We teach parents how to properly care for their child’s teeth at home, ensuring they use the right brush, paste and technique to keep their child’s mouth healthy between dental visits.”
Regular visits keep teeth healthy and prevent dental anxiety
“A child’s first visit should be as soon as they have teeth appearing,” Dr. Youssef says. “Regular visits help your child learn that dentists are allies in helping keep them healthy. Ideally kids should be seeing their dentist at least twice a year to ensure we catch cavities and decay early on.”
Regular trips to the dentist from a young age also help to prevent dental anxiety. Children become familiar and comfortable visiting the dentist, stopping fear around dental check ups from ever taking root.
“When a child’s first experience at the dentist coincides with a dental problem, that first experience can easily become a negative one,” Dr. Youssef says. “We want to see your kids long before they have a cavity or health concern. That way we can establish a foundation of trust with them and ensure they see us as a positive, safe place to visit.”