According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. Parents can help prevent tooth decay and cavities by following a few simple steps.
1. Check with your local water utility company to find out if your tap water has fluoride in it.
Most bottled water does not contain enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay, so if your tap water is fluoridated, drink that instead.
2. Help your children brush their teeth (with a fluoride toothpaste if over age 2) twice a day.
Young children cannot get their teeth clean by themselves and need your help to do a thorough job. Use a pea-size amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, and encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallow it.
3. Serve healthy meals and snacks.
Limit between-meal snacks to veggies and fruits and save the candy, cookies and soda for special occasions. Limit fruit juice and dilute it with water when you do allow it.
4. Take your children to the dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups.
5. Ask your dentist about dental sealants for your child’s teeth.
Sealants are put on in dentists’ offices, clinics and in some schools.