Teaching your children to care for their teeth is more than just a lesson in flossing and brushing. What your child is eating, and when, is just as important to safeguarding smiles! Learn these five tips to help your child’s oral health improve now and in the future!
The human body’s mouth, teeth, and gums are heavily involved in the daily digestive process. It is where your body first encounters the nutrition it needs for survival. What your child eats and drinks greatly impacts his oral health AND his overall health. Paying attention to daily nutrition becomes paramount for your child’s health now and into the future.
If you need help constructing a healthy daily diet for your child, our friendly team at Li’l Sunshine Smiles is here to help you! For more information to help your family start eating right, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Fruit juices may seem like a healthy choice to hand to your child, but they can be packed with sugar, leading to tooth decay. Sugar-containing drinks like sodas, lemonade, juices, and even sweetened tea coat your child’s teeth with sugar. The carbonic acid in sodas further assaults the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay.
Water is always a good option and most children fail to get the recommended amounts they need each day!
(According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, to stay well hydrated, children ages 1-3 years need about four cups of beverages per day, including water or milk. This increases for older kids to around five cups for 4-8 year olds, and 7-8 cups for older children.)
Observe the combination of foods your children eat in a given day. Starchy refined carbohydrates should NOT account for the majority of your child’s diet. We’re talking about chips, breads, pasta, crackers, etc. These starchy carbs can be as dangerous as candy on your child’s teeth.
MyPlate, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture, encourages that your child’s diet be composed of a variety of fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein. Fruits and vegetables should cover half or your child’s plate at every meal. Strive for lean meat sources and vary-up your protein sources to also include eggs, beans, peas, and legumes.
Take inventory on the amount of sugar your child intakes each day. Astonishingly, the average American consumes 88 grams of added sugar a day! The recommended amount for children is no more than 24 grams. Added sugars increase tooth decay and are linked to heart disease and obesity.
By actively working to lower your child’s sugar intake, you help reduce the amount of oral bacteria that will grow inside your child’s mouth. This step to reduce oral bacteria helps to fight against tooth decay and acidic food elements that break down the tooth’s enamel leaving teeth at risk for cavities.
When your child eats makes a difference to their oral health. Children that are constantly snacking are constantly exposing their teeth to food acids. This constant attack of food acids on the enamel of developing teeth can lead to early childhood tooth decay and irreversible damage to permanent teeth.
When you eat as part of a meal rather than just constant snacking, more saliva is released which helps cleanse your mouth of harmful bacteria and acids.
If your child is going to snack often, make sure the snacks are healthy and encourage brushing after snack eating. Waiting between 30-60 minutes to brush after eating a meal is the best way to protect your teeth by not disturbing the lingering food acids with your teeth enamel.
Dr. Botero has been working with children for years and understand their particular needs. Committing to reasonable diet and oral health goals can help fortify your child’s mouth and body to fight tooth decay. Scheduling regular dental exams lessens your child’s risk of developing dental issues.
Dr. Cat has state licenses to practice dentistry in Colorado and Florida. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, and an affiliate member of the American Association of Pediatric Dentists. She is dedicated to the latest developments in the her field and attends continuing education seminars regularly to guarantee your child and family get the best!
Let’s work together to keep your children’s teeth healthy and happy! Call Li’l Sunshine Smiles at 813-576-0200 today to schedule a dental exam today!