Cavity Prevention Tips & Tricks from Babies to Teens

This post is part of a sponsored partnership with Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. We are excited to partner with them to bring our readers bright and shiny dental health information.

“How do I even know when it’s time to take my baby to the dentist?

“Should they sleep with a bottle?”

Do they really need to brush their teeth for two FULL minutes? I can’t even get them to get started!”

Have you had these thoughts? Most moms certainly have. Does it make you wonder where to even start? 

Us, too. We’re with you, mamas! To help us all determine the right course for our kids’ dental health, we asked our friends at Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry for their best tips on cavity prevention

Sea of Smiles cavity prevention

Cavity Prevention: How early in my child’s life do I need to start?

Well, the short answer is – pretty darn early!

CMB contributor Breana asked, “What’s the best age to start taking your kid to the dentist? I’ve heard as soon as they start getting teeth/age 1 to not until age 3!!”

Great question, Breana! So, which is it?

Sea of Smiles gives the same advice that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) does. The recommendation is that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. Primary teeth typically begin growing in around 6 months of age. “Get it done in year one” for a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Sea of Smiles Cavity Prevention

Starting our little ones off on the path to a healthy mouth is important to all parents. Plus, by taking our babies to the dentist starting at age one, we can lessen the fear they might experience if we don’t start dental care until they are older. 

CMB Mom Note: Make tooth brushing a routine early in your child’s life. Be sure they see you brushing your teeth and allow them to do the same (or at least play with their toothbrush when they are little) to get used to the process. As the old saying goes, “Start as you mean to continue”. By doing that, you’ll build good habits early and eventually have a teenager who willingly brushes their teeth. (OK, we can’t promise that, but it’s worth a shot, right?)

Even when your littles are bottle feeding or breastfeeding, you need to think of their dental health. If your child regularly falls asleep while breastfeeding or drinking a bottle, the milk collects on the roof of the mouth and tongue, and the upper front teeth are bathed in it. During sleep, the sugar content of the collected milk is changed to acids which can cause softening of the enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Yikes!

What about Teenagers? (We’ve got nothing. Good luck with that. )

Just kidding, of course! Teenagers are pretty awesome: we just need to help them figure things out. 

Since they’re developing independence and exerting more control over their diets, things can get a little dicey. Teenagers need to make sure they’re not consuming vast amounts of pop, sports drinks and candy. Those things are terrible for the teeth! Also, even though teens are ALWAYS hungry, snacking constantly can be bad for the teeth, too, since it increases bacteria levels, which then increases acids. 

Remind your teenager to:

  • Snack less and always rinse with water afterward.
  • Brush their teeth twice daily and floss prior to bedtime. (Sea of Smiles says, “If you can text, you should have the skills to be an expert flosser!”) Keep up with dental appointments every six months. 

Sea of Smiles Cavity Prevention

The Basics of Cavity Prevention: Tooth Brushing and Flossing

It seems pretty simple, but making a habit of it is key! You can help your kiddos avoid a myriad of dental problems just with proper brushing and flossing techniques. Seas of Smiles gives us the details on good techniques for both:

  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste.
  • When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach particles that may be under your gum line.
  • Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth.
  • It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. (CMB Note: Remind the kids of this!)
  • Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth, and the outside, inside, and chewing surface of your front and back teeth.
  • Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
  • Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque.
  • Replace your toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray.

Flossing Tips:

  • Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser.
  • Wrap the ends of the floss around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, removing food particles and plaque.
  • Unwrap clean floss from your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish.
  • Floss behind all of your back teeth.
  • Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. 

Sea of Smiles features special needs dentistry

Sea of Smiles Cavity Prevention

Dentists at Sea of Smiles are board certified in pediatric dentistry.

What does that mean, you ask? Well, a pediatric dentist has 2-3 years of additional schooling after general dental school. Pediatric Dentists specialize in the growth and development of children – infants through adolescence. They can care for your child all the way to adulthood!

Want more information on Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry?
Visit their website or call 513-474-6777!

Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry


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