In this first article written by Dr. Jasmine Kottait, she explained a few tips and tricks for parents on how to prevent dental decay for their children.
Parent Tips and Tricks:
How to prevent dental decay for your Kids
Dental decay (tooth decay) is the destruction of your tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of your teeth). It can be a problem for children, teens and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque eat the sugar and produce acids that attack tooth enamel causing dental decay.
- Parents have to brush their children’s teeth until they are 7 and supervise their child’s brushing until 10 year olds.
- Brushing should be done twice daily using a fluoridated toothpaste.
- Bed time brushing is very critical because of lower saliva levels thus lowered protection.
- Both manual and electric toothbrushes do a good job but for some young patients (and parents) electric toothbrushes prove easier to be used by the parent and accepted by the child especially if the parent promotes it as a new toy.
- After brushing with a fluoridated paste a very simple trick is to let the child spit out the excess and not rinse with water afterwards.
Diet and Healthy Eating
- Diet has a strong effect on teeth developing cavities, since everything has sugar.
Infants and Toddlers
- On demand bottle feeding or breast feeding allows milk (which has milk sugars that can cause decay) to pool around the teeth and cause decay.
- At 6 months’ children should be introduced to drinking from a cup.
- The child should be weaned off the bottle with milk or juices at age one.
- Sugar should not be added to any of the weaning food.
- Sugary food and drinks should be limited to mealtimes.
- Sugary foods should not be taken more than 4 daily.
- Fruit juices should not exceed more than twice daily.
- Avoid sugary snacks within an hour of bed time.
- Avoid consuming fizzy drinks, sport juices or fruit juices (more than twice per day), to read the effects of fizzy drinks on teeth read the article titled “Carbonated Drinks on Your Teeth!” by Dr. Mohsen Ozaibi
Protective food that helps your child’s teeth
- Moms should encourage their child to consume healthier snacks rather than snacks that have sugar in them, for example:
- Offering nuts instead of crisps
- Offering vegetables instead of cakes or biscuits
- Offering cheese after sugary meals for its balancing effects.
- The toothpaste used has to have the appropriate concentration for the child’s age
- You have to take your child to the dentist every 3- 6 months according to his risk for getting more decay and the dentist will apply fluoride varnish to protect your child’s teeth
- Your child should visit a dentist every 3-6 months and get his teeth checked and cleaned.