Cavities (also known as caries or tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t. The good news is that cavities are preventable.
Here are some things you can do to ensure good oral health for your child:
- Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride.
- Use fluoride toothpaste.
- For children younger than age 6, watch them brush their teeth. Make sure they use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow it.
- For children younger than age 2, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless your doctor or dentist tells you to.
- Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants.
- Have your child visit a dentist for a first checkup by age 1.
- Have regular preventive checkups with the dentist.