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As a parent, you have your child’s best interest in mind. When it comes to their oral health, you do your part by encouraging them to brush their teeth every day; you even take them to the dentist every six months, but why does your child still get cavities? Here are some tips to help your child have a cavity-free dental visit.

The best oral care is prevention, and teaching kids good habits should start early, but keep in mind that it is never too late! The American Dental Association provides us with easy to follow tips on preventing tooth decay from birth to adolescence.

Tips from infancy to pre-school

Clean your baby’s gum after each feeding by using a warm moistened washcloth to wipe their gums gently. Begin using a soft bristled toothbrush and age-appropriate toothpaste to clean their teeth as teeth begin to erupt. Children should begin visiting the dentist by their first birthday. As their teeth erupt, be sure to floss teeth that are touching to prevent cavities from developing between teeth. Be sure to also supervise your child while they brush until they are able to brush without swallowing the fluoridated toothpaste.

Tips for older children and adolescence

Assist your child in brushing their teeth twice a day, and flossing daily, until they are school age (about six or seven years old). Before then, they do not possess the capability to brush their teeth properly on their own. Some children may require supervision until about 10 years of age. Continue with routine dental checkups twice a year to ensure your child’s oral hygiene habits are effective.

Ask the dentist about other prevention methods for your child such as sealants or fluoride treatments. These treatments are a low-cost, yet effective way of warding off tooth decay. Remind your child of the importance of good oral health, as well as help educate them on making good choices regarding the foods and beverages that they consume. For adolescents, it may be time to talk about other oral health care habits such as avoiding tobacco use. If your child is involved in any sports, consider purchasing a sports guard to protect their teeth from injury.

For information about oral care tips or to schedule an appointment, please contact the office of Brian Hockel, DDS by calling 925-478-7776.

Dr. Brian Hockel and Dr. Rebecca Jardine are proud to serve patients from Walnut Creek, Clayton, Concord, and Lafayette, California, as well as from the greater San Francisco East Bay area and beyond.