The number one piece of advice your dentist has to offer is to work on healthy dental habits with your children, starting when they’re infants. Prevention is the best way to ensure your kids have healthy teeth with minimal complications. Through good habits and regular dentist appointments, they can avoid many common dental problems — such as periodontal disease and cavities.
Taking care of your child’s teeth through bi-annual appointments for check-ups and teeth cleaning are essential for maintaining oral health. By seeing Dr. Mila Cohen often, you can catch dental issues early. About 20 percent of children from five to 11 years of age have a decayed tooth that goes untreated.
As with many medical conditions, prevention is the best option for everyone, especially children. It’s on you to take care of your children’s teeth because they don’t know any better. Show them how it’s done at an early age. Your kids dentist in Jersey can educate you and your child on the best options for preventative care.
Good Diet = Healthy Teeth
Most know that one of the main culprits of cavities and tooth decay is sugary foods and drinks. But not eating enough of the foods that are good for dental health is also an issue. Decrease your children’s sugar intake, but also encourage better eating habits. Some foods that are good for your kid’s teeth and gums include:
- Cheese raises the pH of your children’s mouths, which slows plaque/tartar production.
- Rich in calcium and low in sugar, milk is a delicious beverage that’s also great for your kids’ teeth.
- Fish, especially the oily kind like mackerel and sardines, are high in omega- 3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which are both great for oral health.
- Red meat. Red meat, especially grass-fed meat, is high in omega-3s and other nutrients that are great for your teeth.
- Water is good for your teeth because it washes away food particles, keeps you hydrated, and promotes saliva production, which fights plaque and tartar naturally.
- Dark leafy greens. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli are rich in calcium, folic acid, vitamins, and minerals that support overall oral health.
- Black and green tea. These teas have polyphenols that reduce bacteria growth and are naturally rich in fluoride.
- Nuts are high in calcium and phosphorus, which are great for preventing gum disease and tooth decay.
- Your childrens dentist in Jersey City recommends sugarless (with xylitol) or low-sugar gum for encouraging saliva production, which protects your kids’ teeth.
- High in polyphenols, cranberries are particularly good at disrupting plaque/tartar formation.
- Packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, and malic acid, strawberries are good for teeth and naturally whiten them, too.
- High in calcium and probiotics, yogurt is good for fighting gum disease and reducing bad breath.
- Garlic is high in allicin, which has strong antimicrobial properties — great for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
- Ginger naturally freshens breath and prevents bacteria growth with its antibacterial properties.
How Do I Prevent Cavities?
Cavities, also known as caries, are permanently damaged portions of enamel in teeth. Cavities are the most common dental issue affecting children. Close to 42 percent of children from ages two to 11 will have a cavity by age 15, and half of all children will have a cavity at some point in their lives. Cavity prevention is relatively easy and mostly relies on developing good dental care habits early in life.
To prevent your children from getting cavities, get them to:
- Brush and floss twice daily
- Use fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwashes
- Set up regular appointments
- Consider BPA Free, dental sealants for kids, which coat the teeth and prevent tooth decay
More Prevention Tips
Keep your kids’ smiles healthy and avoid costly dental problems by following this advice from Jersey City kids dentist:
Seal Out Decay
Your dentist can apply a thin plastic coating to the back of teeth and on all chewing surfaces. In cases where sealants were used as a preventative, children saw a decrease in cavities by 81 percent. Ask your kids dentist in Jersey about sealants for your child.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps protect teeth. It’s found in tap water, fortified beverages, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Fluoride helps re-mineralize weak enamel, and it’s very good for children in proper doses. Too much fluoride can cause white stains on the teeth and may not be good for your child’s overall health. Monitor fluoride intake and teach your child to not swallow toothpaste or mouthwash.
Mouth guards are great for preventing damage from teeth grinding, a common behavior in children. Mouth guards are also good for protecting the teeth during sports. There are several different varieties of mouth guards. Your dentist can make a custom mouth guard that’s fitted to your child’s teeth perfectly.
Xylitol for Reducing Cavities
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that comes from plants. Unlike sugar, it doesn’t fuel the bacteria living in your mouth. Xylitol also raises the pH of your kids’ mouths and prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth. You can find xylitol in gum, toothpaste, and mints. It’s also a sugar substitute.
Beware of Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are worth a word of caution. Often marketed as a healthy alternative to soda because they replenish the body after intense workouts, they’re not great for children because they’re packed with sugar. Often, sports drinks have more sugar than sodas, so they can be really damaging to teeth.
Tongue Piercing: Is It Really Cool?
Tongue piercing is a form of body art that can ruin teeth. The jewelry knocks up against the teeth and gums. It chips teeth, wears enamel and causes receding gums. In some cases, the piercing can cause tooth movement and create bite issues that weren’t initially a problem.
Tobacco: Bad News in Any Form
You know that tobacco use is bad for your teens’ health, but you may not have considered the effects of tobacco on their mouths. Tobacco in any form increases the chance for gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, infection, and cancer.