Warmer weather is here! It’s important to stay hydrated while avoiding sugary or pre-sweetened beverages.
It’s not the sugar from the candy itself that gives your kids cavities, but rather what happens in their mouth after they eat the sugar. Some types of bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars to create acids that destroy tooth enamel. Those acids create a bacterial infection that makes holes in teeth. Without treatment, cavities can go deeper into layers of the tooth, causing pain and possible tooth loss.
Tips to Prevent Cavities at Easter:
Give Easter treats that aren’t candy. Some good options for children include:
>Art and craft supplies like stickers, paints, markers, and yarn.
>Travel games, puzzles, yo-yos, and mini-figurines.
>Books about Easter.
>Outdoor toys like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and jump ropes.
>Toothbrushes and floss (our favorite).
Ensure that they’re brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. Give them water to drink, and as always, we recommend bringing them in for a cleaning and exam twice a year!
All kids like the occasional treat, but too many high-sugar snacks can have a major impact on their health. Experts recommend that children consume less than six teaspoons of added sugars per day, which is the equivalent of about 25 grams or 100 calories. Consuming more than the recommended amount can significantly reduce their risk of developing a wide range of health problems, including tooth decay. While we all know that sugar is bad for our children’s health, just how bad is it?
How Tooth Decay Develops
The mouth is full of bacteria, many which are beneficial to your unique oral environment. However, the ‘bad’ bacteria can wreak havoc on teeth if you consume the wrong foods in excess. When you consume sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar, creating acids that destroy tooth enamel. Over time, the acids will create a hole in the tooth. If left untreated, the hole can reach the deeper layers of the tooth causing pain and eventually tooth loss.
Our team had a great time at the YMCA New Year New You Health Fair! Thanks to all of our friends our animals now have bright and shiny teeth!
Sealants, or plastic coatings that cover the surface of teeth (particularly molars and premolars), help prevent tooth decay by smoothing out uneven surfaces where bacteria and acids could get trapped.
Why is flossing important?
Flossing is important because, like brushing your teeth, it has many benefits for your child’s dental hygiene and oral health. Actually, you can think of dental floss as a toothbrush’s sidekick.
Floss is used to reach areas between teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing removes excess food particles and plaque from your child’s teeth and helps to prevent redness and soreness of the gums.
At What Age Should My Child Start Flossing Their Teeth?
Teaching your child about dental care from a young age can have a significant impact on their oral hygiene as they grow older. Once a child’s teeth start to fit closely together, parents should help children floss daily. Until your child can wrap the floss around their fingers, try flossing sticks. We recommend that you supervise your child’s brushing and flossing routine until they are old enough to do it on their own.
Let’s discuss why nutrition and cavities aren’t 100% linked:
A variety of whole foods is always better for your teeth than processed foods.
The most important variables that determine whether a snack food is going to cause cavities or not are:
1) Containing carbohydrates
2) How long the food stays stuck on the teeth
3) How fast the food is usually consumed
Let’s compare fresh fruit to dried fruit.
1) Contains carbohydrates
2) Doesn’t stay on the teeth for long because it is crunchy
3) Usually is eaten within 5 minutes
So, a fresh apple is on the “good list” for teeth, even though it contains sugar. Just don’t nibble on it 8 times a day, and your teeth will be fine.
A freeze-dried apple
1) Contains carbohydrates
2) Stays on the teeth for too long
3) Can be carried around for 30 minutes
So, dried fruit is worse for your teeth because it is stickier, and more likely to be carried around.
The same is true for bread and crackers. The starch in bread isn’t as sticky as a cracker. Just like fresh fruit is better than dried fruit, fresh bread is better than dried bread (a cracker).
Yes, my list has ice cream on it. Not because you should give it to your kids all of the time, but because I like to give practical advice. Because cavities are based mostly on time, your child’s teeth are actually better off to have ice cream once a day, instead of sticky crackers three times a day, because of the time factor. Bacteria can’t tell whether sugar is from a smoothie or ice cream.
Dentist Near Me
Probiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.
A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.
Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.
Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.
Minimizing Bad Breath
Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.
The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.
Contact our team for more information on oral health or to schedule a visit today.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans, rivers and lakes. Fluoride is also added to some community tap water, toothpastes and mouth rinses. Infants and toddlers who do not receive an adequate amount of fluoride may be at an increased risk for tooth decay since fluoride helps make tooth enamel more resistant to decay. It also helps repair weakened enamel. Bottled water may not contain fluoride; therefore, children who regularly drink bottled water or unfluoridated tap water may be missing the benefits of fluoride. If you are not sure if your tap water has fluoride, contact your local or state health department or water supplier.
There is an emphasis on flossing because we know where the real dental problems in children start, and we know what it will take to repair the damage of decay between the baby teeth. (They are only called baby teeth because you get them as a baby. They have to last until early teens.)
I wish I could tell you it’s unusual to see 4 or 5 year old children with decay between their molars, but it’s not. And it’s not just children who eat candy or sticky sweets or don’t have their teeth brushed. There are factors you can control like flossing and diet.
The best way to give your child this habit is to introduce it right from the start and BE CONSISTENT.