It’s important to teach kids about cavities at an early age. The more they know about how to keep their teeth healthy, the more likely it is that they’ll develop good dental habits — and keep those up throughout their lives.
We’ve put together some pointers so you can talk to your kids about cavities and how to prevent them.
What are cavities and what causes them?
A cavity is a hole that forms in a tooth. Everything we eat and drink, especially sweets, has bacteria in it, called plaque. If we’re not careful, plaque can attack our teeth and damage them.
Why are cavities bad?
A cavity causes harm to your tooth, and it can also be painful to you. If left untreated, the hole can grow and get bigger or deeper. It may get so big that that the whole tooth gets damaged. If that happens, your dentist may have to remove it.
How can I protect my teeth from cavities?
Cavities can form if we eat too many sweets and don’t clean our teeth properly. The best way to protect your teeth is to choose healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to avoid sugary foods and drinks, like candy and soda.
If you do eat sweets, have them with your lunch or dinner, and then brush your teeth right after. When sugar stays on your teeth for a long time it can cause damage, so try not to snack throughout the day when you may not be able to brush. You should also floss daily, and brush your teeth after ever meal, or at least twice a day. And don’t forget to visit your dentist every six months for regular checkups!
What if I think I have a cavity?
A cavity can be painful, so if your child has a toothache, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away. At the appointment, the dentist will look at your child’s teeth and take X-rays to see if there is a cavity.
What happens if I get a cavity?
If you have a cavity, your dentist can help. He or she will give you some medicine to numb your mouth and make you comfortable. They’ll use a special drill to remove the damaged part of your tooth. Then they’ll fill everything in with a special material, and you’ll have what’s called a filling.
Remember that healthy dental habits are the best way to prevent cavities. The more you can teach your kids about good hygiene and serve as a role model, the better off their dental health will be in the long run!