When the first teeth begin to show up in your child’s mouth, you might feel concerned about giving them the right dental care, ensuring that their teeth remain white, clean and cavity-free. But proper dental care for kids involves more than just brushing their teeth every day. Here are 5 secrets to help improve the health of your child’s teeth.
Secret #1 – No fruit juice for kids under one year Due to dental decay, among other health-related concerns, the American Academy of Pediatrics now is recommending no fruit juice for children under one year. Excessive use of fruit juice can lead to extra weight gain and tooth decay. The AAP also recommend that toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime or from bottles or easily transportable, covered cups that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. Did you know that fruit juice has as much sugar as many soda sugar drinks? Bacteria inside the mouth feasts on sugar, creating acid as a byproduct that can erode the surface of teeth. You can help control this bacterial growth by serving nutritious fresh fruit and other healthy snacks instead of juice until they reach age one.
Secret #2 – Teach Your Kids How to Brush Begin by learning the right way to brush your child’s teeth. Babies and toddlers should use a very soft toothbrush and gel toothpaste designed for younger children. As children get older, you can encourage them to keep their teeth clean by giving them exciting products that make brushing more fun including child themed toothbrushes and toothpaste. Show your child how to brush using small, circular motions along the gumline, and make sure to encourage proper dental hygiene by having them brush and floss twice a day.
Secret #3 – Use Natural Sweeteners Xylitol has been proven to be a sweet way to beat the bacteria that can cause dental disease. Xylitol is a natural sugar that prevents tooth decay and gum disease by making the bacteria slippery instead of sticky. Bacteria usually make acid from sugar that helps them stick to each other and to your teeth. The acid also breaks down tooth enamel, causing cavities. Bacteria can’t make acid from xylitol, so they simply slide off the teeth and tooth decay is prevented. It’s a win-win for young children with a sweet tooth. Many new snacks and candies contain this non-sugar sweetener so try some sugar-free sweetened gum or mints. You could start with xylitol toothpaste in the morning, oral rinse next, chewing gum after meals, or mints or candy after snacks. You could finish up the day the way you started it with a xylitol toothpaste and oral rinse.
Secret #3 – Dry Tooth Brushing It has been proven that brushing your kids teeth with a fluoride toothpaste is necessary for optimal dental health. But did you know that dry brushing your kids teeth as well as wet brushing them can also make a big difference in their oral health? Dentists suggest dry tooth brushing for a few reasons; you can actually see the area of the teeth you’ve brushed without your vision being hampered by foaming toothpaste; you can see where areas of the gum may be reddened or irritated by brushing; and it’s easy to see if your kids gums are bleeding after they’ve brushed; dry brushing also reduces the amount of plaque buildup on teeth; and dry brushing also massages the gums for better oral health. Yes toothpastes provide bacteria-fighting properties that help protect against decay and cavities, but dry tooth brushing offers a number of benefits for oral health as well.
Secret #5 – See Your Dentist It is standard to visit the dentist twice a year because brushing and flossing will only get rid of so much bacteria. At a certain point, bacterial growth becomes resistant, clinging to surfaces on and between the teeth, even after the most vigorous brushing and flossing. This is when it’s time to call in the big guns and go see your dentist who has specialized tools to manually remove this caked on build-up, keeping your teeth healthy and clean.
By following these 5 secrets healthier teeth are just around the corner for your children. There’s no time like the present to take control of your kids oral health and to ensure that their teeth will be beautiful, healthy and strong for years to come. If you’d like to discuss your family’s oral health please contact us at Northgate Dental. We will be more than glad to help with any advice we can offer. Or if you prefer, request an appointment instead and we’ll provide a free consultation. Our practice is built around your smile.