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Healthy eating leads to healthy teeth; teeth benefit from a well-balanced diet just like the rest of your body. The CDC recommends your child consume foods from all 5 food categories. For more information on a healthy diet visit the CDC’s website: www.cdc.gov.
Believe it or not, it is not only the quantity of sugar your child consumes but also the frequency with which they consume it. We know kids are growing and require frequent snacks to fuel their growing bodies. We recommend choosing nutritious snack foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese to promote a healthy body as well as healthy teeth.
Cavity-causing bacteria feed on leftover food in the mouth. The more frequently they have food to eat the more frequent your teeth are experiencing a cavity-causing attack.
We recommend wiping the mouths of infants and toddlers out with a wet washcloth after each feeding to remove any residual food for the bacteria. We also recommend not putting your baby to bed with anything other than warm water in their bottle.
For older kids, we recommend brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Flossing is crucial for removal of any residual food for the bacteria from spaces between teeth where the toothbrush can not reach.
Fluoride is a natural element that has been proven to be beneficial to both forming teeth as well as existing teeth. Fluoride helps strengthen teeth, reduce the oral bacteria’s ability to form a cavity, and in sufficient quantities can re-mineralize teeth more quickly following an acid attack.
Though fluoride has many beneficial roles in preventing cavities, in high concentrations in can cause detrimental effects to developing teeth. Often parents are unaware of a child’s potential sources of fluoride.
Some possible sources are:
- Excessive fluoridated toothpaste at a young age
- Inappropriate use of fluoride supplements
- Hidden fluoride in your child’s diet
Children less than three cannot be expected to spit out excessive fluoride toothpaste. As a result, they can ingest more than the recommended amount of fluoride during a routine tooth brushing. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using no more than a ‘rice grain’ sized amount of toothpaste for children less than three and no more than a ‘pea-sized’ amount of fluoridated for children three to six.
Fluoride supplements have many beneficial effects on developing teeth but when used excessively or inappropriately they can contribute to fluorosis. Fluoride supplements are only recommended when all other sources of fluoride have been accounted for.
Many foods contain high levels of fluoride. Powdered infant formulas, infant dry cereals, and some infant foods contain fluoride. Please read the labels of all food products to obtain amounts. Beverages such as tea, grape juice, and many other drinks reconstituted from fluoridated water sources can also contain fluoride.
Sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth in order to fill in deep grooves. These grooves are exceptionally prone to cavities with 80-90% of cavities in children occurring on the chewing surfaces.
Participation in organized sports is a wonderful way to teach teamwork and dedication; however, sports-related injuries to the mouth can occur. A properly fitted mouth guard is an excellent way to reduce the risk of injury. We recommend your child use a properly fitted mouth guard anytime there is a risk of trauma to the face or mouth. Ask your pediatric dentist about their recommendations for your child.