Did you know that tooth decay is the #1 disease found in children today? We all want our children to be healthy, and dental health is a big part of overall health. Here are the first of the top 10 ways to keep your kids’ teeth healthy:
1. Practice the basics: brush twice per day, floss once per day. This process needs to be supervised by adults when children are under 7 years of age.
2. Even before baby’s first tooth emerges, usually between 4-8 months of age, wipe down baby’s gums with gauze or a clean washcloth once per day. Do not use any toothpaste containing fluoride on baby’s gums.
3. Take your young child to visit the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth appearing. Consider whether you’d like to take your child to see your own dentist or a pediatric dentist. It may help to visit the new dentist’s office for a “happy visit” before an actual cleaning and checkup.
4. Parents and other adults should not share items contaminated with saliva – forks, cups, straws, toothbrushes, etc. – with their children as this can pass harmful oral bacteria to a child. Don’t clean a pacifier with your mouth either; use plain water.
5. Control the sugars your child consumes. We all know that sugar contributes to tooth decay, but did you know that the naturally occurring sugars in things like bread and milk are also a problem? Sugars mix with plaque bacteria already in the mouth and form acid. This acid destroys tooth enamel and enables decay. Some tips are: try to limit sugary foods to once per day and brush soon after; if brushing isn’t an option, swish the mouth with water to remove some of the sugars. Chewing sugarless gum can help remove some sugars, but this is not a good option for young children.
Tune in next month for 5 more ways to keep your children’s mouth clean and healthy!