How to prevent child cavities!
Wheaton Pediatric Dentist & Orthodontist – Recommendations for a “NO CAVITIES” kid!
Want to know how to prevent child cavities? Read on! As a mom of 3 young children & an orthodontist, I often witness frustration from parents when their children as young as 2 has cavities. They often say, “I am brushing 2 times per day & flossing, what on earth am I doing wrong?”
Dr. Danielle’s 5 tips on how to prevent child cavities:
1. Brush and floss twice a day!
First of all, brushing and flossing is very important! Encourage good oral hygiene habits early on by making a routine of brushing your child’s teeth. If you have trouble getting your child to brush, check out my hubbies tips on brushing your child’s teeth. Start brushing the teeth as soon as the first tooth begins to come in, as 4 months! You may place a grain of rice sized smear of fluoridated toothpaste on the toothbrush, even before your child will spit. Once they are able to spit, you can give them a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
2. Serve fluoridated water.
Make sure you are giving your child fluoridated water! Bottled water does NOT have fluoride. Also, did you know that bottled water has a lower pH than regular water? This means it is ACIDIC. ACIDITY allows the bacteria on our teeth to break down the tooth, which causes decay.
3. JUICE – AVOID IT!
- The American Academy of Pediatrics & Pediatric Dentistry recommends 4 oz of juice per day ONLY if your child is not consuming any fruit. MY recommendation is encourage your child to eat fruit. If your child repeatedly refuses fruit, try to mash or puree fruit to mimic a smoothie. Juice is over-consumed by children because it is conveniently packaged (juiceboxes) and it tastes good. My rule is don’t ever buy juice, therefore you can’t serve it. Make your children think juice is a “treat”. I being so strict about juice because exposure of the teeth to the sugars in juice is a major contributing factor to cavities. IF YOU DO GIVE JUICE, limit it to a meal or snack so he/she finishes it along with the meal or food. Juice elimination may be my biggest tip on how to prevent child cavities.
If you would like more information about juice & recommendations, please visit THIS LINK ON JUICE
4. Eat right!
Meals & snacking: Encourage healthy snacks such as fruits, raw veggies, yogurt, and nuts; our fav is avocados:) For meals, make every attempt to serve a lean meat or seafood and a vegetable. Foods to avoid: Fruit snacks/fruit rollups, processed snacks (yes, goldfish!), candy, cookies, and cereals high in sugar. Pay attention to the sugar content when buying food. You will be surprised how many snacks you think are healthy have as much sugar as a soda!! By the way, STAY AWAY from soda & soft drinks for the kids as well. So, what can I feed my child? Bottom line: water, & milk (coconut water for athletes), lean meats, seafood, nuts, vegetables, fruit, whole grains. In addition to the other foods discussed, avoid crackers, chips, sweets/treats, juice, sugary cereals, processed foods.
5. Avoid all sports drinks.
Sports drinks contain a LOT of sugar. Yes, electrolytes are lost during physical activity, so they do need to be replaced from extensive exercise. However, there are plenty of alternatives to sports drinks that don’t take a toll on your teeth. A great alternative to Gatorade and other sports drinks is Coconut water. Coconut water contains high levels of potassium & some sodium, which are the electrolytes lost in exercise!! Coconut water has no added sugar and is a natural substance. It is excellent for hydration.
I hope you enjoyed my post on how to prevent child cavities. We all want you to have a NO CAVITIES kid! Finally, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!!