Your teeth are important for life, but bad habits learned in childhood can cause major problems in adulthood, especially if your child’s teeth become weak. Weak teeth are more prone to problems like decay and cracks, but you can do various things to help your child build strong teeth. Check out these four tips to help your child’s oral health.
Choose Teeth-Healthy Foods
Many foods are naturally good for teeth because they contain a lot of calcium. Naturally, milk and milk products have high levels of calcium, but they also help lower acid levels and increase saliva flow to wash away bacteria. Leafy greens are also high in calcium, but they also contain folic acid and other vitamins and minerals.
Some foods help because they help brush your teeth while you eat. Crunchy veggies, for example, may rub against the teeth, helping to remove plaque and sugar. Plus, they also stimulate saliva flow, so the dislodged debris is easily washed away. Other teeth-healthy foods include crunchy fruit, nuts, and water.
Limit Teeth-Harming Foods
While some foods help promote healthy teeth, some foods weaken teeth. Naturally, sugary candy, foods, and beverages increase the risk of decay, but sugar isn’t the only teeth-harming ingredient. Acidic foods and beverages pose a problem too because they weaken enamel. Acidic foods include soda, alcohol, sour candy, and citrus fruits.
Sticky foods are also problematic. Foods like chewy candy, bread, or dried fruits have a high chance of sticking in the nooks and crannies of your kid’s teeth. Even with the help of saliva or water, the food may stick too well. Ideally, a good brushing and flossing should remove this, but if it is missed, it can easily harden to tartar.
Finally, some food is bad because they are too hard like hard candies and ice. If your child frequently chews hard candy or ice, it increases the risk of chips and cracks from the mere pressure.
Ask the Dentist About Fluoride
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral amazing at fighting cavities because it hardens enamel. In fact, many cities add fluoride to the drinking water to help boost oral health. However, this may not be enough, or your city may not provide fluoridated drinking water. If this is the case, talk to your dentist about adding fluoride to your child’s oral treatment.
For some children, fluoride treatment is part of their regular dental checkups. The dentist may use a rinse or tray with fluoride foam. If your child’s teeth continue to show signs of weakened enamel, the dentist may also recommend a fluoride toothpaste. In extreme cases, the dentist may prescribe a fluoride supplement.
Ask About Sealants
All teeth are susceptible to decay, but back teeth are often at a higher risk. This is because they have big chewing surfaces with small grooves. The chewing surface allows humans to grind up foods better, but small bits of debris may stick in the grooves. For this reason, many parents turn to sealants to better protect their child’s back teeth during these crucial years.
During treatment, the dentist applies a small coating to the surface of molars. This does not protect the tooth from all cavities, but it does protect it from 80 percent of cavities for the first two years. Even after two years, the sealants help block 50 percent of cavities. If the sealant falls off, make sure to tell your child’s dentist immediately. Luckily, they can be easily reapplied.
Oral health is important for everyone, but you should start good habits at a young age. Helping your child build strong teeth now will prevent major complications down the road. If you would like to learn more or if you want to schedule an appointment, contact us at Apollo Dental today.