Did you know that tooth decay is likely to be left untreated in at least 23% of children, ages two to 11? Even more alarming, the majority of those children, or 15% out of 23%, are less than six years old. Fear drives most people away from the dentist. Do not teach your children unhealthy habits. Make sure your child visits the dentist regularly, and make sure you know the top ways to prevent tooth decay. What can you do?
What is the Number One Obstacle?
Fear. Every year, 30 to 40 million Americans avoid going to the dentist, chalking it up to anxiety and fear. According to the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, at least 5% of all people suffer from a severe, debilitating phobia of the dentist. At the same time, it is recommended that patients visit the dentist once every six months, at minimum. Why? Dentists recommend getting your teeth cleaned often, and they can help pinpoint tooth decay that may be completely painless, and otherwise undetectable.
If your child is afraid of the dentist, there are things you can do. Set a good example, and instill positive attitudes about the dentist. If that doesn’t work, try making your dentist aware of the problem. A European Journal of Oral Science study reports that empathy and humor help put an end to dental anxiety and fear.
What Can You Do In Between Dentist Visits?
What about downtime in between dentist visits? How can you prevent tooth decay naturally? Oral B recommends keeping close tabs on your child’s diet. Fresh fruits, like apples and bananas, are an obvious solution. Oral B also recommends vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and drinks and foods rich in calcium, like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Another important question to ask is, “Does fluoride prevent tooth decay?” The startling answer is not necessarily. Fluoride makes teeth stronger, and it can help repair damaged enamel. This may prevent tooth decay, but that has not conclusively been proven. Data about whether it can actually reduce, or help cure, tooth decay is even less clear. Even so, strong teeth and healthy enamel is a good place to start, and children should be encouraged to brush their teeth regularly.
Kids get tooth decay, too. Don’t neglect your child’s dental health. Stop asking questions like, “Does fluoride prevent tooth decay?” Schedule regular dentist visits, and encourage your child to eat right and brush his (or her) teeth.