5 Tips for Nutritional & Dental Health
Teaching your child healthy habits that will last a lifetime starts at home! We’re sharing some tips for parents on how a healthy diet and consistent oral health routines can make all the difference in a child’s smile.
Make Better Bottles at Bedtime
When giving your toddler a bottle before naps and at bedtime, try filling it with plain water rather than sugary milk or juice. This will prevent their teeth from long-term exposure to the sugars that cause tooth decay. If giving a bottle of milk, try to brush their teeth before sleeping so that the sugars do not coat their teeth overnight.
Brush and Floss Your Child’s Teeth Every Day
Be sure to brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day and floss their teeth at least once a day to help remove plaque and food between teeth and below the gum line. Ask your pediatric dentist to show you and your child the most appropriate oral hygiene techniques. Helping your child learn these healthy habits early on can prevent many future oral health problems from ever occurring, and the sooner they start, the better!
Feed Kids Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables that have a high volume of water (like pears, melons, and cucumbers) are low in sugar, and the crunching they require actually helps clean the teeth. Try to limit your child’s intake of foods like bananas and dried fruits because they’re higher in sugar. When your child does eat them, just be sure to brush their teeth afterward.
Stay Away from Sticky, Starchy Foods & Sugary Beverages
Foods like raisins, dried fruit, granola bars, cookies, hard candies, jelly beans, honey, chewy caramels, and syrup tend to stick to the teeth and are difficult for saliva to wash away. Sugary beverages such as soda, sports drinks, and fruit juice also have a negative effect on your child’s mouth. They continuously coat the teeth with sugar, which can result in tooth decay. Have your child brush their teeth right after eating or drinking these items, and try to focus their attention on foods that are unsweetened or sugar-free. Also try to avoid allowing your child to eat sticky, sugary foods late at night just before bedtime. Sugary, starchy, and acidic foods can cause tooth decay if they’re eaten frequently or remain on teeth for a long time. We suggest teaching your child to choose healthier foods and to take care of their teeth properly.
The good and bad foods each of us choose daily can make a big difference in the health of our mouths. Just like you, your teeth need a healthy diet for them to grow and remain healthy, which is why the food and beverage choices you make may cause tooth decay or risk cavities. While you can still enjoy a sugary treat every now and then, it is recommended that you stick with the “Good Guys” listed in this graphic below. The food you eat continues to play an important role in your overall health.
Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist Early
Dental experts recommend taking your child for their first pediatric dentist visit no later than their first birthday or as soon as their first tooth erupts through the gums. Then, this should be followed by regular dental checkups and cleanings to prevent, treat, and detect dental problems early.
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