Y Magazine

The Bright Stuff

Keeping kids’ teeth white and filling-free is a challenge. Here are a few tips for avoiding that dentist’s drill.



We all want our kids to have movie-star smiles as adults. As parents, this means knowing how to protect their teeth when they’re young while ensuring that they practise good dental health care for a lifetime.

Because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month in some parts of the world, Y thinks it’s the perfect time to “brush up” on instilling good oral-hygiene habits.

Consider this: according to the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry (AAPD), nearly

one in three children aged two to five years old in the US are affected by tooth decay, which is one of the top chronic infectious diseases among children. It can compromise their health, development, and quality of life in both the short and long term.

“Parents are bombarded with unsolicited advice and health findings that are constantly

changing,” says Dr Jade Miller, AAPD President. “We don’t want to add to that stress but there are a few common misconceptions that could help make a huge difference in your child’s oral health, which is linked to their overall health and wellness.”

The good news is that tooth decay is nearly 100 per cent preventable. The following

Dos and don’ts from the AAPD can keep tooth decay at bay and keep kids smiling for years:

Cut down on sugar. Children shouldn’t consume too many sweets and sugary drinks (including sports drinks and juice). That prolonged exposure to sugar and acid can wreak havoc on teeth. Instead, stick to designated meal and snack times and have them drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Don’t put babies to bed with a bottle. Milk and juice contain sugar. When babies are put to bed with a bottle, the sugar coats their teeth while they are sleeping, causing tooth decay. If you use a bottle before sleep, opt for water.

Do wean children off dummies by the age of three. Dummies are a natural way for children to self-soothe. However, prolonged use can increase the risk of cavities, and affect the way a child’s teeth bite together, often causing an overbite.

Do avoid topical teething gels and rings. The US Food and Drug Administration warns against using teething gels that contain benzocaine or lidocaine because they can harm your child.  Parents and caregivers should stay away from teething rings that contain chemicals.

For more information about children’s oral health, visit www.mychildrensteeth.org.

* NewsUSA