Kids first trip to dentistAlthough tooth decay affects 1 out of 3 kids under age five, it’s also preventable. In this post, we’ll give you some simple tips to help prevent tooth decay in small children. 

Tooth decay remains a top infectious disease among children and can compromise the dental health, development, and quality of life of children both in the short and as they grow older.

The good news is that it’s nearly 100 percent preventable.

According to Dr. Jade Miller, President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “There are a few common misconceptions, that if cleared up, could help make a huge difference in your child’s oral health – which is linked to their overall health & wellness”.

Here are four tips to help protect your child’s dental health:

Frequency of sugary treats and drinks is even worse for teeth than the amount ingested

Keeping the consumption of sugary foods at a minimum is important for children (and adults too). Prolonged exposure to sugar from drinking soda, juice or sports drinks all day long, and the digestive acids the mouth produces when consuming them is bad for the teeth. Don’t let your kids “graze” on drinks or

Don’t let your kids “graze” on drinks or foods that are bad for their teeth all day long. Stick to consistent meal and snack times, which is not only good for their teeth but also good for establishing routines that help keep them happy. And drink lots of water throughout the day.

Related: Kids dental health habits start at home

Don’t send babies to bed with a bottle

baby bottle childrens dental healthThis issue is similar to the above tip. Sending your baby to bed with a bottle, whether milk or juice, will prolong their exposure to the sugar in the drink. Their teeth could end up coated in sugary residue for the entire evening.

This is such a common issue that there is even a name for it:  “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.” If a bottle soothes your child before they go to bed, instead fill it with water.

Related: Brushing teeth for kids

Ween kids off of their pacifier by age three

It’s commonplace and normal for children to be soothed with a pacifier. We’ve all been there. I could never have made it through this phase of parenthood without a pacifier.

However, the prolonged use of a pacifier can increase the risk of cavities and can affect the way a child’s teeth bite together, which could potentially cause an overbite. Your dentist can assist in helping to encourage children to stop a sucking habit and discuss your child’s particular situation.

Related: Tips for your kids first trip to the dentist

Avoid topical teething gels and rings

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly warns against using teething gels that contain benzocaine or lidocaine because they can seriously harm your child.

Parents and their caregivers should also stay away from teething rings. These can often contain chemicals and low levels of BPA (bisphenol A) even when labels say otherwise. BPA is an industrial chemical that can be harmful to your children’s health.

We’re sure you’d agree that keeping your children from ingesting industrial chemicals is beneficial.

Prevent these four common causes of tooth decay in children under five and you will be helping them establish a lifetime of healthy dental habits.


Is your child ready for a checkup? Keep them up to date to prevent any issues from becoming serious problems.

Schedule a consultation online or call us at (972) 964-3774

David Wilhite is a Plano Texas dentist with over thirty years of pediatric experience.


Article Source: AAPD