Kids and cavities seem to go hand in hand. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 percent of children ages 2 through 5 have at least one dental cavity, compared to 24 percent a decade ago.
Although 4 percent may not seem like a lot, that increase represents thousands and thousands of children and cavities — as well as a trend in the opposite direction of the last 40 years, when tooth decay was on a gradual decline.
So if you have children and cavities are a concern, here are six easy ways to reduce the risk:
1. Avoid giving your baby juice or formula at night. The sugar in juice and formula causes the bacteria in the mouth to produce the acids that cause baby bottle tooth decay. Use fluoridated water instead.
2. Choose low-fat foods from the basic food groups. Raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole-grain breads and low-fat dairy products are great for your child’s overall health and their dental health!
3. If you must, give sweets only as a dessert. If your child must have sweets, limit it to dessert or following a main meal. Late-night snacking and frequent snacking are a major culprit of cavities in children.
4. Invest in a water filter. Instead of spending extra on bottled water, invest in a filter for your sink, or a filtered water pitcher. Fluoridated tap water is an excellent resource to help the battle between children and cavities.
5. Don’t share cups or utensils. Cavities are contagious. So if you have them, you can pass them onto your child by sharing cups and utensils.
6. If you smoke, stop. The University of Rochester’s Strong Children’s Research Center has discovered a link between smoking, children and cavities. Results from a study show that children of parents who smoke are more likely to develop cavities.