Keeping Kids' Teeth Cavity Free

Posted on June 18, 2013 in Children’s Oral Health

June is National Smile Month, and an important time to brush up on how to keep kids' smiles shining bright. While most parents know that brushing and flossing play an important role, it's what they don't know that could jeopardize their children's oral health.

According to the 2013 Delta Dental of Illinois Children's Oral Health Survey, 60% of Illinois children had not seen the dentist by age 3. “Parents should take children to the dentist by age 1 to establish a trusting relationship with the dentist and receive critical oral health care advice,” said Dr. Katina Spadoni, DDS, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois.

In addition to taking children to the dentist by age 1, there are other tips parents and caregivers can follow to keep their children's teeth healthy.

Fill bottles with water, not juice or milk. Nearly 60% of Illinois caregivers with a child 4 years old or younger report that the child sometimes takes a nap or goes to bed with a bottle containing milk or juice. This bad habit can lead to early childhood (baby bottle) tooth decay. If a child needs a sippy cup or bottle to go to sleep, fill it with water. Babies and toddlers want the soothing, repetitive action of sucking on a bottle more than sweetened drinks.

Avoid sharing food and utensils with children. Many caregivers don't know that they can pass harmful bacteria from their mouth to their child's mouth, which can put the child at a risk for cavities. More than 70% of Illinois caregivers say they share utensils such as a spoon, fork or glass with a child. To protect a child's overall oral health, it's best not to share!