Keep your kids’ teeth healthy and white well into adulthood with these tips to make the most of their molars.
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.
Any time is the perfect time to “brush up” on instilling good oral-hygiene habits and according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), nearly one in three children aged between two and five in the United States is affected by tooth decay. It is one of the top infectious diseases among children and can compromise their health, development, and quality of life.
“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 tips from the AAPD can keep tooth decay at bay and keep kids smiling for years to come:
• Do 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 make 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 age three. Dummies are a natural way for children to self-soothe. However, prolonged use can increase the need for fillings and affect the way a child’s teeth bite together, often causing an overbite.
• Do avoid teething gels and rings. The U.S. 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 too which contain chemicals, and low levels of BPA– despite labels citing otherwise – that can be harmful to your child.