No kid enjoys sitting in a dentist’s chair with an adult’s latex-gloved hands in their tiny mouth. Cavities always prolong the experience, and often include some scary instruments that would make anyone cringe.
The best way to keep your child’s dental visits as quick and painless – and to keep their smiles healthy as they grow up – is to help your child to develop healthy habits early on. These 9 tips, along with regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups, will help you do just that.
- Don’t share food and drink. Because cavities are caused by bacteria, they can actually be contagious! Not sharing food and drink will ensure that any cavity causing bacteria you or your child’s friends may have is not passed along to your child.
- Avoid frequent snacking. A constant influx of foods, and especially sugary foods, creates the perfect environment for the growth of bacteria-causing cavities. Wherever possible, limit your child’s snacking to healthy foods only, and encourage them to brush their teeth or gargle with water whenever possible after they are finished.
- Eat crisp, water-dense fruits. Fruits with high water content such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and peaches can help keep your child’s mouth hydrated, and are particularly useful in a lunchbox meal.
- Avoid unnecessary sugars. Ok, this one is a no-brainer, but especially where teeth are concerned. Soda, candies, and other high-sugar foods should be consumed in moderation, if at all.
- Keep fruit juices to a minimum. While they are a much healthier alternative to sodas, fruit juices can be both acidic and sweet, two qualities that can wreak havoc on a child’s teeth. Encourage your child to consume them in moderation.
- Drink lots of water. Water should always be the drink of choice. While bottled water is fine, drinking fluoridated tap water is best for your child’s dental health.
- Consider a dental sealant. Talk to your dentist about placing dental sealants on your child’s teeth. These thin, plastic coatings on the chewing surface of your child’s teeth can protect them from tooth decay and prevent cavities down the line.
- Avoid sticky foods. Foods that are sticky, such as fruit rollups, candies, and cookies can linger in the mouth and create growth opportunities for sugar-feeding bacteria that cause cavities.
- Lean towards cheeses and nut butters. Nuts and cheeses have ingredients that can help remineralize a child’s teeth, and are great additions to any lunchbox. If your child has a nut allergy, soy nut butter may be an option. However, be sure to talk to your child’s allergist to determine if soy nut butter is safe for your child to consume.