The American Dental Association (ADA) has a newer saying in regards to keeping your child’s smile healthy: “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.” The ADA means a couple of things by this, first that tap water with fluoride is good for your teeth and your child’s teeth and secondly that cutting back on sugary fluids is best.
Fluoride is a colorless, flavorless, odorless, safe additive to water that helps prevent tooth decay. It is added to the public water supply in many places all over the United States. The subject of fluoride can be a somewhat controversial one, however, the ADA has approved it as beneficial to teeth. While consuming water with fluoride can help take care of your children’s teeth, many parents continue to struggle with getting their kids to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
In addition to brushing and flossing every day your child’s teeth every day, there are other methods you can use to keep your children’s mouths healthy.
Avoid Bottle Decay
Many parents put their infant or toddler down to sleep or nap with a bottle or sippy cup, but filling the bottle or cup with juice or even milk can be harmful to your child’s teeth. The sugar in the drink sticks to teeth and creates a breeding ground for teeth-eroding bacteria. What’s a parent to do in that situation? Giving your child water in their bottle or sippy cup makes a healthy substitute for milk, formula, or juice. It doesn’t introduce sugar to your child’s mouth and it also will help wash away any potentially harmful sugar or food particles from your child’s teeth and gums.
Cut Back on Juice
It might sound like a hard thing to do (and a hard sell for your toddler) but cutting back the amount of juice that your child consumes can be crucial to their overall oral health. The less juice the better in fact: the sugars in juice stick to teeth. Not long after ingesting juice, the sugars combine with bacteria in your mouth to develop acids. These acids begin to break down tooth enamel and create tooth decay. Cutting back the amount of juice your child has can help their mouths stay healthy.
Eat More Veggies
As a parent, you know how important it is to get your child to eat their vegetables – now you’ll have another reason to continue to press your child to eat them. Cutting back on sugary foods and drinks is always a good thing when it comes to your child’s teeth, but eating certain foods and vegetables can help your child keep their mouth healthy.
Leafy greens and spinach are a great source of many vitamins, specifically calcium, which strengthens tooth enamel. Vegetables like celery and carrots actually have a “scrubbing” effect on teeth, cleaning away sugar and food particles as your child chews. They both are full of fiber and vitamin A, vital parts of gum health. Eating raw carrots at the end of a meal actually help fend off tooth decay by making your mouth salivate more.