February 12, 2019
Did you know that an estimated 42% of children ages 2-11 have untreated cavities? Unfortunately, cavities not only affect your child’s smile now but in the future as well. Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s a great time to learn about the importance of good oral health in the early years and how you can prevent problems from the start. Not only will you minimize the amount of dental work your child needs from a family dentist in Lacey
How Does Your Child’s Diet Affect Their Oral Health?
Your child’s diet has a huge impact on their smile. And sugar is everywhere in our modern diets, which can have serious consequences to a child’s oral health and general health.
Every time something sweet is consumed, acid is produced in the mouth that wears away at the enamel. If sugar is eaten in high quantities or too frequently (or both), the risk of getting cavities is very high.
Here’s how you can reduce the impact of sugar on your child’s teeth:
- Timing matters – Remember that anything sweet should be eaten with meals instead of as a snack. It’s not only the amount of sugar that matters, but the frequency with which your child consumes it. Remember the phrase, “Sip all day, get decay,” as a reminder not to sip or snack throughout the day.
- Choose low-sugar snacks – Here are some non-sugary snack ideas to get you started: cheese, popcorn, plain (sugar-free) yogurt, peanut butter and celery, deviled eggs, spinach dip with veggies, lunch meat and cheese “roll-ups”, and nuts.
- Beware of hidden sugar – Since sugar is in so many foods, read labels to check the sugar content and primarily focus on whole foods. Make sure to limit sugary items that seem healthy such as juice or dried fruit. And make things like candy or soda an occasional treat only (with or after meals).
What Else Can You Do To Prevent Cavities?
In addition to good eating habits, here are some other easy ways to keep your child’s smile healthy:
- Schedule regular checkups – It’s important to have your child’s teeth monitored regularly so that any cavities or other problems can be found and treated when they’re small and easy to treat.
- Ask about sealants – Good brushing and flossing make a big difference, but still can’t prevent cavity-causing bacteria from collecting in the microscopic pits and grooves in the back teeth. Sealants are thin, durable coatings that protect these areas and have been found to prevent 80% of childhood cavities.
- Establish good oral hygiene – Even if your child’s brushing and flossing habits aren’t perfect, it’s important to help them do the best they can. Ask a pediatric dentist in Lacey for recommendations on the right techniques and best products to use.
Although cavities in kids are quite common, following these few simple guidelines will help you minimize them or prevent them altogether. And that’s something to smile about!
About the Author
Dr. Mahima Gupta is a family dentist in Lacey and a graduate of the New York University College of Dentistry. She loves working with patients of all ages and always helps parents understand how to prevent problems from the start and minimize the dental work their children need. If you have any other questions about your child’s dental health, she can be contacted via her website.
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