My four year old has had six cavities already. I’m beside myself and don’t know what I’m doing wrong. He brushes twice a day. What is going on?
It is great that you are teaching your son to be independent and brush his teeth twice a day. Let’s look over some of the risk factors for decay and see if we can’t get to the bottom of what’s going on with his teeth.
Brushing and Flossing Incorrectly
You said your son brushes his teeth twice a day. That’s great! Is it possible your son is not getting all the little bits, nooks, and crannies? He is only four. Continue to allow him to brush himself, but make sure you’re observing. If he’s not getting everything brush after him. There are also phone apps, which help little ones to brush correctly and for the right amount of time. This may be useful.
You didn’t mention flossing. Most children can’t floss well on their own in the beginning. You may have to start that for him. Using a floss picker is usually easier for children than just a string floss.
Lack of Dental Sealants
You can brush and floss with excellence, but those strategies really are only completely effective on smooth surfaces. Most children’s back teeth are pitted. It’s challenging, if not impossible to get into every pitted nook and cranny. This is why pediatric dentists recommend young children have dental sealants done.
To do this, dentists will thoroughly clean their back teeth and then paint on a sealant which covers and protect the molars from decay.
Type and frequency of Food Consumption
Sugary and sticky foods will play havoc on a child’s teeth. These eat away at the enamel of your child’s teeth and lead to cavities.
One thing people don’t realize is the importance of not eating too often. When you’re a snacker, the minerals in your saliva don’t have a chance to adequately fight the sugar and bacteria. Frequent snacking can play havoc on teeth, even if they’re only eating healthy foods.
Not using a Fluoridated Toothpaste
Fluoride helps fight decay and build up enamel. Without it, your son’s teeth are vulnerable. Make sure you are using a fluoridated toothpaste. In addition, your dentist should provide a fluoride treatment after each checkup and cleaning.
When Your Child Needs a Filling
Even doing everything right, a child can still end up with decay which requires a dental filling. When that happens, make certain your son gets a white filling. Some dentists try to say that children can’t get them. That’s not true. Is it more difficult? Yes. This is because the filling has to stay completely dry during the bonding process. But, a dentist who is good with children should know how to get that done. You may need to see a mercury-free dentist if your dentist doesn’t provide them.
This blog is brought to you by Fountain Valley Dentist Dr. Tammy Tran.