As a parent, there’s no question that you want to take the best care possible of your kids. Although, in the middle of a busy a day, it’s often easier to give them sugary snacks and drinks out of convenience. Unfortunately, these foods put them at a higher risk of getting cavities. But, with some smart snacking tips and a few good oral hygiene habits at home, you can completely prevent your child from getting cavities. Not only will you minimize the amount of dental work they need from a children’s dentist in Selden, but you’ll also be helping them have a healthy smile for life!
Why Are the Right Snacks So Important For Cavity Prevention?
Especially in the last few decades, sugar has snuck into our diets in surprising places (for example, yogurt and breakfast cereals). Sadly, this not only contributes to health problems such as childhood obesity and diabetes, but can wreak havoc on a child’s oral health as well.
Every time a child consumes something with sugar in it, acid is produced in the mouth that wears away their enamel. If sugar is consumed in high quantities or too frequently (or both), the risk of getting cavities is very high.
Here’s how you can reduce the impact of sugar on your child’s teeth:
- Choose low-sugar snacks – Here are some non-sugary snack ideas to get you started: cheese, popcorn, plain (sugar-free) yogurt, peanut butter and celery, deviled eggs, spinach dip with veggies, lunch meat and cheese “roll-ups”, and nuts.
- Timing matters – Remember that anything sweet should be eaten with meals instead of as a snack. It’s not only the amount of sugar that matters, but the frequency with which your child consumes it. Remember the phrase, “Sip all day, get decay,” as a reminder not to sip or snack throughout the day.
- Beware of hidden sugar – Since sugar is in so many foods, read labels to check the sugar content and primarily focus on whole foods. Make sure to limit sugary items that seem healthy such as juice or dried fruit. And make things like candy or soda an occasional treat only (with or after meals).
What Other Ways Can You Prevent Oral Health Problems In Your Child?
Here are some easy things you can do to keep your child’s smile healthy:
- Schedule regular checkups – It’s important to have your child’s teeth monitored regularly so that any cavities or other problems can be found and treated when they’re small and easy to treat.
- Ask about sealants – Good brushing and flossing make a big difference, but still can’t prevent cavity-causing bacteria from collecting in the microscopic pits and grooves in the back teeth. Sealants are thin, durable coatings that protect these areas and have been found to prevent 80% of childhood cavities.
- Establish good oral hygiene – Even if your child’s brushing and flossing habits aren’t perfect, it’s important to help them do the best they can. Ask a dentist in Selden for recommendations on the right techniques and best products to use.
Your child’s oral health is hugely important to their overall quality of life. By choosing the right snacks and practicing a few good habits, you can prevent cavities and help them have healthy teeth and gums – now and in the future!
About the Author
Dr. Stephen Scotto-Lavino is a general and children’s dentist in Selden and a graduate of the New York University College of Dentistry. He loves working with patients of all ages and always focuses on prevention to help his pediatric patients minimize major dental work as much as possible. If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, he can be contacted via his website.