Deal with the Sugary Foods and Drinks!
Kids Should Finish Sugary Foods and Drinks Right Away, Not Linger. Healthy eating and drinking not only plays an integral role in overall health, it can have a profound impact on oral hygiene. To keep the frequency and duration of sugar exposure in check, the AAPD offers these recommendations:
Fill sippy cups with water only. Children shouldn’t sip on sugary drinks or munch on sugary foods for extended periods of time. If you give your child beverages other than water, serve them in a can or glass and limit consumption time. If you do provide sugary drinks in sippy or other types of cups, instruct children to finish them quickly. Take away the cup after a reasonable amount of time.
Don’t let children go to sleep with bottles. Even milk can cause tooth decay. If you do put your child to sleep with a bottle, it should contain water only.
Limit candy. Sucking on candy is another way that kids can extend exposure to sugar. Limit sweets and the time it takes for kids to consume them, and make sure children brush afterward.
Brush after meals. Have your children maintain proper oral hygiene, including brushing after meals and snacks and daily flossing, to reduce the risk of cavities.
Whitening toothpastes have polishing agents in addition to the mild abrasives that help remove surface stains from teeth. Teeth that have surface stains are cleaned and whitened by whitening toothpastes; however, deeper stains won’t be touched. If your teeth have deeper, darker stains due to injury or certain medications, a more thorough brightening treatment, such as bleaching or microabrasion, will be required. If you choose to use a whitening toothpaste, make sure the toothpaste contains fluoride as well as whitening agents.
Teen Pediatric Dentistry
Just because your teenager isn’t a child anymore, doesn’t mean she should stop seeing her pediatric dentist. Dentistry to meet the special needs of teens and adolescents is an important part of the specialized training for pediatric dentists. Growing doesn’t stop at childhood – teens experience important growth in their faces and jaws. Teens are also getting the last of their permanent teeth, and teeth that have just come through the gums are especially vulnerable to decay. Additionally, teenagers start becoming responsible for their own diet and nutrition choices, and it’s important that those choices are come from a solid foundation of dental health.
Your Child and Cheese
Did you know recent research shows cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child’s teeth? In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, and Monterey jack all stimulate the body’s salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect teeth from acids that weaken them. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque’s ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child’s teeth.
Sealants Can Seal the Deal for Healthy Teeth
“Sealant” refers to a clear or shaded plastic material placed in the pits and grooves of children’s teeth to prevent decay. The pediatric dentist applies this invisible protector by drying and conditioning the teeth, painting on the sealant and then allowing it to harden.
The AAPD recommends sealants as an effective method for cavity prevention, especially for those children with a history of tooth decay. In addition, sealants are one of the most cost-effective means of preventing cavities – they cost less than half of what one filling costs!
For further information on dental sealants, please visit AAPD.
Brush Up on Tooth-brushing
Tooth-brushing is one of the easiest methods of cavity prevention. But which type of toothbrush should your child use?
Manual or powered, both can assist with keeping your child’s smile cavity-free. When choosing a manual toothbrush, look for round-ended (polished) bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums. Choose one specifically designed for children’s smaller hands and mouths. Look for large handles that can help children control the toothbrush. Be sure to brush your preschooler’s teeth and supervise the brushing and flossing of school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age.
The AAPD recommends using only soft-bristled toothbrushes. Also, remember to throw out a toothbrush after 3 months or sooner if the bristles are fraying. Frayed bristles can harm the gums and are not as effective in cleaning teeth.
Start Off The School Year Right!
Students miss more than 51 million school hours per year* because of dental problems or related conditions. Dental pain can distract students, cause their schoolwork to suffer or even lead to school absences. Children and adolescents with healthy teeth have better attendance, are more attentive in class and tend to participate more fully in school-related activities.
To start the school year off on the right tooth, and prevent oral-health-related absences, teach your student to floss once a day and brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Beware of frequent snacking, as repeated exposure to sugary or starchy snacks can increase the risk for cavities. And most important, visit your pediatric dentist twice a year. Your pediatric dentist provides an ongoing oral health assessment and can help your student prevent cavities and school absences.
Resources in Spanish
Did you know the AAPD produces many of its brochures in Spanish as well as English? The AAPD has four Spanish brochures currently online and available to order: Sealants, The Pediatric Dentist, Thumb, Finger and Pacifier Habits, and Dental Care for Your Baby. Please visit our brochure list to view these brochures online.
The AAPD also has a “Dental Emergencies” information sheet available in Spanish and English. Click below to download a free copy.
For more information about how to keep your children’s teeth healthy, visit www.aapd.org.
For more information on oral health for your student, please visit the brochure list
*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 2000.
Source: http://www.mychildrensteeth.org/education/quicktips/ and http://www.mychildrensteeth.org/oralhealth/toothdecay/