Healthy Smiles: 7 Essential Dental Health Tips for Kids
Did you know tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease? Tooth decay (aka cavities – yuck!) affects more children than asthma each year and is largely preventable. Instilling good dental hygiene practices from a young age is critical since oral health issues can lead to trouble eating, sleeping, learning, and playing.
We often think brushing a child’s teeth twice per day is enough… When in fact, cavities are multifactorial in origin and can stem from a variety of additional variables such as hydration, diet, vitamin supplementation, and even the types of cups/bottles a kiddo drinks from.
Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re here with a series of essential tips to ensure your little ones have the happiest and healthiest gums and teeth possible!
1) See a Pediatric Dentist.
The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents visit a dental professional by the child’s first tooth or first birthday. Why so soon, you might ask? Not only can a Pediatric Dentist assess a child’s overall oral health, but they are also best positioned to offer recommendations, reinforce positive habits, and provide guidance before, during, and after teething, which can be a critical period in a child’s development.
2) Brush and floss regularly.
Keeping a child’s mouth clean begins before their little teeth even appear! Parents should gently wipe a baby’s gums after each feeding with a soft, damp washcloth to prevent a build-up of bacteria. Once the little teeth start to appear, parents should lightly brush each tooth with an infant toothbrush, water, and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste.
As children get older, the general rule of thumb is brushing twice per day for 2 minutes each time. Flossing once per day can also begin as soon as teeth grow and start to touch one another.
3) Limit sugary drinks.
Sugar-filled beverages (we’re looking at you, juice, soda, and sports drinks) are terrible for teeth and gums. The sticky sugar sits on teeth, leads to an increase in acid production as bacteria consumes the sugar, and ultimately causes a breakdown of tooth enamel… That’s how cavities are formed. Gross! It’s no secret then why sugary drinks are one of the most common dietary causes of tooth decay!
4) Eat healthy, teeth-friendly foods.
Just like sugar-filled beverages, sticky, sweet, and candy-like foods have a similar negative effect on tooth enamel and overall gum health. Even raisins should be avoided because of their propensity to get lodged in (and stuck to) teeth. A child should instead consume a diverse diet with calcium-rich foods such cheese and low-sugar yogurt. If sweets are necessary for whatever reason, chocolate is preferable to fruit snacks and sticky candies.
5) Drink fluoridated tap water between meals.
Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is crucial for everyone, regardless of age. However, did you know water is also helpful for rinsing away food particles, sugar, and bacteria before it builds up in the mouth. When combined with regular brushing/flossing and proper diet, drinking fluoridated water is a great way to prevent tooth decay.
6) Say no to gummies.
It should be obvious at this point that sugar-filled gummy vitamins are a big no-no. Gummy vitamins are no different than sticky candies in that they a) are full of sugar and b) love to get stuck in teeth.
Why would you give your child a gummy vitamin right before bed only to have the gelatin residue linger in their teeth all night? The answer: you shouldn’t!
7) Encourage vitamins for strong bones and teeth.
Gummy vitamins are out… But teeth-friendly vitamins like Calcium, D3, and K2 are certainly IN! These vitamins and minerals are crucial for building strong bones and teeth throughout childhood.
Fortunately, Renzo’s Melty Tabs just dissolve right in the mouth, have zero sugar, and don’t leave any residue whatsoever in a child’s mouth. Check, check, and check!
No wonder Pediatric Dentists recommend Renzo’s Vitamins above the rest! As we shine a light on the importance of dental health this month, be sure to check out some of our top teeth-friendly Melty Tabs:
Renzo's Vitamins provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice.