Surprisingly, tooth decay is on the rise among kids. Current studies have found that parents have even gotten to the point of expecting cavities in their children. However, tooth decay can be prevented with healthy eating and drinking.
Regular dental checks and visits to the dentist, brushing and flossing are essential steps towards preventing tooth decay, but a tooth cleaning alone is not a guarantee against tooth decay. The types of food and drink you give your child can affect the development of tooth decay as well.
• Newborns and young babies only need breast milk or formula. When the baby does become old enough to drink something else, it should be water.
• When a child is 6 to 8 months old, he can start to use a cup for drinking. A bottle isn’t necessary after 12 months of age. I do not encourage giving a child at this age sweetened milk, fruit juice or pop. These drinks will increase the risk of tooth decay. It’s recommended that a baby does not take a bottle to bed either.
• Toddlers and older children need a wide variety of healthy foods and snacks. Foods and drinks that are low in sugar are best. If something sweet is eaten, encourage a drink of water afterwards to reduce the amount of acid on the teeth.
The longer food and drink stays in your child’s mouth, the more chance there is for acid to develop and cause damage to tooth enamel. This means that nibbling foods and sipping drinks over longer periods of time is more likely to cause tooth decay.
Inhalers are a vital part of some children’s asthma management plans, but the powder in some inhalers is acidic and can damage tooth enamel. This could lead to tooth decay over time if it isn’t balanced with good oral hygiene. To avoid tooth decay, rinse your child’s mouth with water immediately after each use of the inhaler. Ensure that your child’s teeth are cleaned twice a day with toothpaste.
Some medicines can affect your child’s oral health because of their sugar content. Check the label of any medication for any hidden sugars, particularly if your child’s going to be taking the medication for a long period of time. Saliva helps clean and protect your child’s teeth – without saliva, tooth decay and other oral health problems can become more common. But some medications can reduce saliva production, leaving your child with a dry mouth. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the effects of the medication on saliva and teeth. Older children and teenagers could try chewing sugar-free gum. It stimulates saliva flow and helps to protect teeth from decay.
You can also encourage your child to rinse her mouth with water immediately after taking medication, and to brush with fluoride toothpaste one hour after.
Sports drinks can erode your child’s teeth, particularly if your child drinks them regularly. It’s best for your child to drink sports drinks only sometimes, and to drink plenty of water instead.
Please call our office with questions, or to make an appointment. Let’s work together to show our kids how important their oral health is.
(Some Source from: Raising Children Network; the Australian parenting website).