Know more, prevent more! Healthy tips for your child’s smile!
by Dr. Mandy Ashley
Snacking habits in children have changed dramatically in the past few decades. I don’t remember having access to the incredible amount of sugar-laden snacks, treats and drinks when I was a kid. We might have gotten a firework pop once a month when the ice cream truck drove through our neighborhood, and if we were lucky, we got a cotton candy on the 4th of July. But the onslaught of readily available and directly marketed sugary kid treats was just not a part of my life as a child.
Flash forward to 2017, and one out of three children ages two to five years old in the USA are affected by tooth decay. One in three children! Tooth decay is a top chronic infectious health disease in children, and it can affect a child’s overall health and development. The good news is that it’s nearly 100% preventable.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the following four simple rules to help dramatically reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay:
- When it comes to sugary treats and beverages, it’s not how much but how often. Grazing on snacks and sipping on sugary beverages like sweet tea, Gatorade, and soda can cause much more damage to teeth. If your child needs a sweet treat, pick a snack time and then move on to drinking water and sticking with designated meal times.
- Don’t put a baby to bed with a bottle. Milk sugar or sugar in juice or soda will cause damage to the baby’s teeth. It happens so commonly that the process even has its own name: Early Childhood Caries, formerly known as “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.” If you child must go to bed with a bottle, put only water in the bottle.
- Wean children off a pacifier by age three at the latest. Sucking on a pacifier squeezes in the sides of the face and narrows the roof of the mouth. This can cause future crowding and a condition called a “cross bite.” The nipple of the pacifier can also flare the baby teeth forward, putting them at a greater risk of trauma to these teeth and also to the permanent teeth that follow.
- Avoid topical teething gels. The FDA strongly warns against using benzocaine or lidocaine-containing teething gels for children. Instead, gently brush the area where your child is growing a tooth.
The more you understand about tooth decay, the easier it is to prevent. Your child’s dentist can help you work out a specific plan to prevent cavities and give your child the best chance at a lifetime of great oral health.
About the Author:
SKY Pediatric Dentistry is located at 727 US-31W Bypass, Suite 101 in Bowling Green, KY 42101. With 18 years experience, Board Certified Pediatric Dentist Dr. Mandy Ashley and her team provide modern, fun dental care for all children as well as adults with special needs. We now have a second office location in Hopkinsville!
Please visit our website www.skypediatricdentistry.com, email email@example.com or call 270-715-5437 for more information on both the Bowling Green and Hopkinsville practices and to schedule an appointment for your child.
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