Tooth decay hits kids hard. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most widespread chronic children’s disease is tooth decay. Nearly half of kids ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth. With good dental hygiene, tooth decay is nearly always preventable.
Watch those juices and snacks! Toddlers love juice in sippy cups, but their slow drinking pace and the fact that juices pack a lot of sugar—even when there’s none added—makes this a recipe for decay. Try diluting the juice with water in a 50/50 ratio, and give your toddler no more than six ounces per day. With older kids, avoid raisins, fruit gummies and other dried fruit snacks that can stick to teeth. Substitute strawberry slices, melon cubes or grapes cut into quarters.
Baby teeth need attention too. When your baby’s teeth first appear, inspect them regularly and clean them with a baby’s toothbrush or soft cloth and water—no toothpaste until age 2 unless your dentist or pediatrician recommends otherwise. Your baby should have their first dentist visit by age 1.