Dental health is important at every stage of life, but especially so during childhood. A healthy smile gives kids the self-confidence they need and allows them to eat and speak comfortably. It also lays the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health! This blog is written in honor of February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, and in it you’ll learn about childhood cavities and the best way to prevent them. This information will minimize the amount of dental work your child needs from a children’s dentist in San Antonio and help them have a healthy smile for life. Learn more below!
Sugar Consumption and Childhood Cavities
In our modern-day diet, sugar is everywhere. In addition to contributing to general health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, high sugar consumption has devastating consequences on oral health as well.
Each time a child eats or drinks something with sugar in it, acid is produced in the mouth that wears away the 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:
- Remember that anything sweet should be eaten with meals instead of as a snack. If your child wants a snack, offer something non-sugary such as cheese, plain (sugar-free) yogurt, popcorn, or nuts.
- Sugar is hidden in almost everything, so read labels to check the sugar content and primarily focus on whole foods. In addition to minimizing things like soda and candy, be sure to limit high-sugar foods that seem healthy such as juice, sugary yogurt, many breakfast cereals, and dried fruit.
- 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,” to remind you and your child not to sip, snack or graze throughout the day.
What Else Can You Do To Prevent Oral Health Problems In Your Child?
Here are some additional ways to strengthen your child’s teeth and prevent decay:
- Schedule regular checkups – These visits are crucial for making sure that any cavities or other problems are detected and treated when they’re as small as possible.
- Focus on oral hygiene – Your child’s brushing and flossing habits don’t have to be perfect, but they should be as consistent as possible. Ask a children’s dentist in San Antonio for recommendations on the best techniques and products to use that will make a big difference in your child’s oral hygiene routine.
- Ask about sealants – Good brushing and flossing go a long way. But, unfortunately, cavity-causing bacteria still collects in the microscopic pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – and even good brushing can’t always remove it. Sealants are thin, durable coatings that protect these areas and have been found to prevent 80% of childhood cavities.
Cavities impact children’s oral health now and in the future. But the good news is that by minimizing sugar, getting regular checkups, and establishing a few good habits at home, cavities are 100% preventable. And that’s something to smile about!
About the Author
Dr. Racha W. Kadamani is a general and children’s dentist in Central San Antonio and a graduate of the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in California. She loves working with patients of all ages and always focuses on prevention to help children minimize the amount of dental work they need. If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, she can be contacted via her website.