Tooth decay is quite common in children, with reports indicating that more than half of Hong Kong children aged 5 have tooth decay. Tooth decay will affect children's chewing function and nutritional intake, and in serious cases, tooth decay will invade the dental pulp, making the subsequent treatment even more complicated. Therefore, children and parents should not neglect the prevention of tooth decay and establish good eating and oral hygiene habits. Parents also need to take their children to regular dental check-ups and deal with tooth decay in a timely manner if it is found.
When should children start seeing a dentist?
Babies need oral checkups from the 6th month after teething. The first dental visit aims to reduce fear and anxiety and help build a positive dental experience for children. It also helps parents learn how to clean teeth properly and helps prevent tooth decay. Dentists recommend dental checkups at least every six months to detect problems early.
Tooth decay prevention | 2 ways to prevent tooth decay
(1) Coated fluoride
Fluoride can inhibit or even stop the appearance and growth of tooth decay. Applying it to the teeth after a thorough cleaning and keeping it on for at least 12 hours can increase the teeth's resistance to tooth decay. Parents can take their children to apply fluoride regularly during the development of their teeth before the age of 13 to effectively prevent tooth decay.
(2) Fissure sealants
Bacteria and food particles can stick to grooves and eventually cause decay. Fissure sealants can completely seal off these grooves, preventing any food particles or bacteria from getting in. When children's first permanent tooth grown, fissure sealants can be applied.
How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
First, establish a tooth brushing routine with your children. Routines are great ways to teach children. Once they get in the habit of brushing everyday, that will continue into adolescence and adulthood. Children may be reluctant at first, but most will make it a habit if the parent set's the example with consistent reinforcement and demonstrating their own routine of good dental care.
Brush 1-2 teeth in a group, in a fixed order, in gentle circular motions. You should also floss once a day because brushing cannot completely clean the plaque on the front of the teeth, so flossing can thoroughly clean the teeth.
Second, Watch your child's sugar intake. Quite often, there is a lot of sugar in the juices and drinks that children consume. This has quietly led to a rise in tooth decay among pre-adolescents.
Last but not the least, make sure your child sees a pediatric dentist regularly. A child's dentist appointment is just as important as an adult's - they'll demonstrate that good oral hygeine is a critical part of their overall health, as well as look for early signs of any tooth decay.
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