There’s nothing worse than having to subject your child to the whir of the dentist’s drill because simple oral hygiene habits were not followed. Sure, kids hate flossing as much as adults, but if we’re successful at instilling good behavior early on in life, those habits will provide them with a healthy mouth that will keep them smiling indefinitely. “Ignore your teeth and they’ll go away,” the old slogan used to say – and it’s still true today. Protecting your child’s teeth from cavities can be as simple as following a few simple recommendations.
Here are 11 easy things you can do to keep cavities from taking root in your child’s mouth – and yours for that matter!
1. Regular brushing and flossing: Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day.
2. Don’t share your food and drink: Cavities can actually be contagious! Because the bacteria that causes them can be passed from one user to the next, it’s best to avoid sharing foods and drink with children.
3. Visit the dentist: Most dentists recommend you should bring your child to a dentist after their first tooth arrives. Then, thereafter, based on the recommendation of your dentist.
4. Avoid frequent snacking: Constant snacking, particularly on sweets, provides the perfect environment for cavity-inducing bacteria to do their work. Limit snacking to healthy foods, and if your children can brush, or use water as a mouthwash after snacking, that’s even better.
5. Eat crisp, water-dense fruit: Fruits high in water help keep your child’s mouth hydrated, particularly useful during a lunchbox meal.
6. Avoid additional sugar: This is good for the body as well, and common sense when it comes to teeth. Soda is a big no-no, of course.
7. Consider dental sealants: Your dentist can place a protective sealant on your child’s teeth to that will prevent decay. The process is simple and can save headaches in the future.
8. Drink a lot of water: Water should be the beverage of choice. Bottled water is okay, but fluoridated tap water is best. Use a filter if you are concerned about the quality of your local tap water.
9. Minimize juice beverages: 100% can be good for you, but it’s best in moderation. Juice can be acidic, and sweet – two things that are not so good for our teeth.
10. Avoid sticky foods: Items like fruit leathers, cookies and candies aren’t good choices for healthy teeth any day of the week.
11. Consider cheeses and nut butters: Nuts and cheese have ingredients that help remineralize our teeth, and can be good additions to a lunchbox. If you have a child with allergies, soy nut butter might possibly be an option. However, always be sure to check with your allergist first to be certain if soy nut butter is safe for your child to consume.